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the lack of unity of command below the level of the President. No one below that level had access to all of the incoming intelligence. It was only at the Presidential level that a comprehensive analysis of all of the available intelligence information could have been made. But no one at that level had the time or the responsibility to do such an analysis. As Peter P. Wallace concludes in "Military Command Authority”:
There was nowhere, short of the President, that intelligence could be joined with the command authority to take action on
a joint basis, based on that intelligence. (page 44) The fragmented command situation in Hawaii also contributed to the lack of warning. With no unified commander, General Short and Admiral Kimmel commanded by cooperation-but neither questioned the plans or operations of the other. General Short assumed that the Navy was conducting long-range air reconnaissance, while Admiral Kimmel assumed that the Army's radar was fully operational. Both assumptions were incorrect. A Senate investigating committee made the following conclusion regarding the lack of adequate coordination between the Army and Navy commands:
There was a complete failure in Hawaii of effective ArmyNavy liaison during the critical period November 27-December 7. There was but little coordination and no integration of Army and Navy facilities and efforts for defense. Neither of the responsible commanders knew what the other was doing with respect to essential military activities. (Report of the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack,
1946, page 153) The agreement of General Short and Admiral Kimmel to defend Hawaii through cooperation clearly failed to compensate for the absence of a unified command below the Presidential level.
C. THE BATTLE OF LEYTE GULF The Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines was the greatest naval battle in history and the last major fleet action of World War II. Although this October 1944 battle resulted in an overwhelming victory for the United States, it was, by a very narrow margin, almost the largest American naval defeat since Pearl Harbor. The major problem which the U.S. Navy encountered at Leyte Gulf was a lack of unity of command which very nearly proved decisive.
The catalyst for the Battle of Leyte Gulf was General MacArthur's return to the Philippines on October 20, 1944, during the American landing on the island of Leyte. For the Japanese, the fight for the Philippines was vital. Three Japanese naval forces, which included almost every remaining Japanese ship, were committed to the battle.
The American naval forces were divided into two fleets-the Third Fleet under the command of Admiral Halsey, and the Seventh Fleet commanded by Admiral Kinkaid. While Admiral Halsey was, in turn, commanded by Admiral Nimitz in Hawaii, the Seventh Fleet was "MacArthur's Navy" and Admiral Kinkaid was directly under MacArthur's command. Thus the two fleets that were cooperating in support of the American landing at Leyte had no common superior below the level of the JCS in Washington. This lack of a unified commander in the field led to a series of misunderstandings which resulted in near-disaster.
One of the central misunderstandings of the battle on the American side centered around the existence and mission of Task Force 34. A series of confusing and intercepted transmissions, beginning with Admiral Halsey's plans to form a new unit-Task Force 34to take on heavy surface forces, led Admiral Kinkaid to assume that Halsey's Task Force 34 would be used to guard San Bernardino Strait, thus leaving his Seventh Fleet free to concentrate on the other major entrance to Leyte Gulf, Surigao Strait. However, Halsey's orders stated that while he was supposed to cover the Leyte beachhead, in the event that he found a major portion of the Japanese fleet, his primary mission would then be to destroy that force. Thus, when Halsey proceeded north out of the Leyte Gulf region to attack the Japanese carrier forces—which actually were a decoy to draw his fleet away from the battle--the vessels that would have formed Task Force 34 went with him. He compounded his error by not informing Kinkaid that Task Force 34 had never been formed. This lack of adequate, direct communication and coordination between Admirals Halsey and Kinkaid left San Bernardino Strait and Kinkaid's northern flank unguarded and open to the Japanese.
Historian Adrian Stewart, in The Battle of Leyte Gulf, raises a question of critical importance regarding this misunderstanding:
Would so immense an oversight have been possible, had there been present a supreme commander who could have viewed the battle as a whole? The lack of such a commander
would seem to have been the crucial American error. (page 84) As a result of the confusion, the remainder of the Japanese fleet sailed unopposed through San Bernardino Strait into Leyte Gulf and were met only by an escort carrier unit which was totally unprepared for such a battle.
By the time Kinkaid discovered the error, the Japanese were coming through the strait and Halsey was 350 miles away. Worse still, Halsey ignored Kinkaid's desperate messages asking him to
"Situation very serious. Escort-carriers again threatened by enemy surface forces. Your assistance badly needed. Escort-carriers retiring to Leyte Gulf". Only when Nimitz intervened, sending Halsey the famous message="Where is Task Force 34? Whole world wants to know.”—did Halsey turn back. But by the time he arrived, the battle had been won.
Fortunately for the United States, heroic fighting on the part of the escort carrier unit and confusion and bad judgment on the part of the Japanese were enough to overcome the problems created by the lack of unity of command.
D. THE CAPTURE OF THE USS PUEBLO The USS Pueblo, an intelligence-gathering ship, was seized by North Korean naval vessels in the Sea of Japan, approximately 15 miles off the North Korean coast, on January 23, 1968. This incident represented the first capture of a sovereign ship on the high seas in peacetime in over 160 years. Because U.S. military forces failed to assist the Pueblo from the beginning of the crisis until its arrival in Wonsan harbor (about 4 hours), sensitive information and equipment were lost and the vessel's crew was imprisoned for 11 months by the North Koreans. This lack of action, in turn, can be traced to problems with the U.S. military command structure in the region-specifically, the lack of unification at levels subordinate to the unified commander.
At the time the Pueblo was seized, its intelligence-gathering mission off the coast of North Korea was characterized as a “minimalrisk" operation that is, no forces were specifically dedicated to support the ship. Therefore, when the crisis developed, no single commander in the vicinity had adequate forces under his authority to deal with the seizure. The efforts of commanders below the level of the unified commander to coordinate their forces to handle the crisis resulted in no action being taken.
At the time she was seized, the Pueblo was under the operational control of the Commander, Naval Forces Japan (COMNAVFORJAPAN). However, COMNAVFORJAPAN did not command any forces which could be used to assist the Pueblo. He had to request forces from other commands in the vicinity. Air support forces were requested from the Commander, 5th Air Force, in Japan. However, since the 5th Air Force had not been previously ordered to provide specific forces for the Pueblo's mission, none were readily available. Another possible avenue of assistance was the aircraft carrier Enterprise, which was on maneuvers approximately 500 miles from the Pueblo. The Enterprise was under the command of the Commander, 7th Fleet, not COMNAVFORJAPAN. COMNAVFORJAPAN assumed the 7th Fleet would receive notification from Washington to assist the Pueblo; therefore, he did not directly request the Enterprise's assistance. As a result of this breakdown in communications, it took almost three hours from the beginning of the crisis for the Commander, 7th Fleet, to change the course of the Enterprise.
Peter P. Wallace, in "Military Command Authority: Constitutional, Statutory, and Regulatory Bases," summarizes the chain of command problems encountered during the Pueblo crisis:
If any one of the nearby commanders had sufficient forces to deal with the Pueblo seizure, the crisis would have been entirely different. But the precise point is that no one commander had such forces and thus commanders were forced to rely on coordination, requests and assumptions about what others were doing. Two major reasons inherent in the command structure chiefly explain this result. There was no effective unity of command below CINCPAC, and those links in the chain of command, CINCPAC and above, who possessed sufficient authority were too far away to influence the situation. (pages 55–
56) Although the capture of the Pueblo painfully demonstrated the dangers of inadequate unification at levels below the unified commander, this problem remains essentially unresolved today, almost 20 years later.
E. THE IRAN HOSTAGE RESCUE MISSION On April 24, 1980, U.S. military forces undertook the rescue of 53 Americans who had been held hostage in Tehran, Iran, since November, 1979. Code-named Operation Eagle Claw, the mission not only failed to free the American prisoners but ended tragically in the deaths of eight U.S. servicemen as well. Although several problems contributed to the failure of this heroic effort, this paper will only seek to identify and describe its organizational deficiencies. 1. Planning
Shortly after the takeover of the American Embassy, President Carter directed the Department of Defepse to plan a rescue operation that could be undertaken if diplomatic efforts to free the prisoners failed. A Concept Plan (CONPLAN) to counter terrorism had already been approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and, therefore, was available for use in planning this particular contingency. The CONPLAN offered a framework for organizing, planning, training, and executing military responses to terrorist actions. However, the Joint Task Force (JTF) that was established to carry out the rescue mission adopted very little of the JCS CONPLAN; instead, the JTF improvised and relied upon ad hoc arrangements to perform most of its tasks. The report of the Special Operations Review Group that was commissioned by the JCS to examine the rescue operation explained that:
major areas of endeavor, such as task organization planning, integration of concurrent planning by subordinate units, and determination of support and requirements, were compartmentalized and reliant upon ad hoc arrangements. (August 1980, page 15) (This report will subsequently be referred to as the "Holloway Report” after the Review Group's Chairman,
Admiral James L. Holloway, III, USN (Retired).) Much of the planning of the Joint Task Force was focused on the best means to transport the rescue force deep into Iran to Tehran and back again. A preliminary assessment” prepared under the direction of the JCS soon after the rescue operation explained the Task Force's major planning problem:
. it became clear early in the planning effort that a helicopter-supported operation offered the best prospects for success. Due to the distances involved, a corollary to this realization was that, at some point, a helicopter force would have to be refueled enroute from its launch point to its destination in the vicinity of Tehran. A major portion of the planning effort was focused on finding the best combination of location, tactics, and equipment to make the refueling, as well as the remainder
of the mission, militarily feasible. (May 6, 1980, pages 1-2) The plan that eventually evolved from this planning effort required a complex series of ground and air movements, involving personnel and equipment from all four Services. In his book, The Second, by assigning the CINCs a greater role in determining the readiness and sustainability of their forces, the operations program and budget would help smooth the transition between the current peacetime dominance of the individual services and the expected wartime dominance of the operational commanders. Specifically, the readiness program and budget would allow resources to flow down the same channels as operational authority and responsibility without depriving the services of their primary role as the maintaining arm of the forces.
(page 20) Despite these arguments, it appears that the enhancement role for the operational commanders in the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System, as provided for in Secretary Taft's memorandum of November 14, 1984, offers great potential for increasing the visibility of the requirements of the operational commanders without the disruptions of this opti
Both this option and the newly established procedures have the same objective: to provide a better appreciation of the readiness and sustainability needs of the operational commanders. It appears desirable to evaluate the adequacy of the newly established procedures before implementing more drastic proposals.
o Option 3H -approve the use of the CINC Readiness Fund The fundamental issue regarding the CINC Readiness Fund is whether Washington organizations (Congress, OSD, Military Departments) are prepared to relax their absolute control over resources and permit operational commanders some flexibility to meet unforeseen requirements. At present, resource allocations for very specific purposes are approved in advance. In addition, changing approved allocations involves a cumbersome set of procedures, both within DoD and between DoD and the Congress.
It is not possible to exactly forecast the funding requirements of the operational commands well in advance of the actual operating period as the current budget process requires. There appears to be a strong case to provide a CINC Readiness Fund to meet unforeseen requirements.
On the other hand, given the substantial demands for relatively scarce defense resources, there is a requirement to ensure that expenditures are made only for priority needs. Should the concept of the CINC Readiness Fund be approved, the Secretary of Defense will need to ensure that he develops procedures that provide sufficient oversight of expenditures while still being responsive to the urgent needs of the operational commanders. 4. OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH THE PROBLEM OF THE ABSENCE OF
UNIFICATION BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE UNIFIED COMMANDER
AND HIS STAFF • Option 4A -clarify appropriate command relationships within
the unified commands, especially concerning the principle of
unity of command Clarification of appropriate command relationships would obviously be beneficial. If unity of command is to be the basic principle