226. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to President Carter 1


  • Command Relationships in Saudi Arabia (U)

(S) This memorandum responds to your request for an outline of the current command structure and communication routing between AWACS over Saudi Arabia and our military forces in the Middle East-Persian Gulf region.2 These are outlined in detail at Tabs A and B, respectively.3

(S) Command Structure. In essence, our current command relationships are those provided in the Unified Command Plan. Operational control of the deployed AWACS and associated ground radar and support units in Saudi Arabia is exercised through CINCEUR by his USAF component commander’s representative in Saudi Arabia (ELF–ONE). Operational control of naval forces in both the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea is passed from CINCPAC through COMSEVENTHFLT to Commander Task Force 70 (CTF–70). For the air defense mission, CINCEUR has been designated the supported commander, with CINCPAC supporting him. Those roles would be reversed in the event of a maritime mission; e.g., mine clearing or active protection of shipping.

(S) Communication Routing. Air defense resources currently in the region consist of an integrated air defense net which includes AWACS, Saudi and US ground radars, Saudi Hawk facilities, Saudi and US Navy fighter aircraft, and a US fleet air defense cruiser deployed within the Gulf. All these units can communicate by voice. Additionally, the AWACS can relay radar data to US ships and aircraft of TF–70, as well as to its own ground processing center, which provides the link to Saudi forces. Direct communications circuits (via satellite) have been established between the National Military Command Center (for the National Command Authorities) and ELF–ONE, AWACS, and TF–70 in the area.

(S) Summary Evaluation. Although the current command relationships are naturally more complex than a single-CINC operation, both [Page 726] the JCS and I believe they are working satisfactorily at the current level of operations. Should our involvement in the region become markedly greater, we would consider a gradual transition of responsibility by introducing the Headquarters, Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) into the area to command all forces in the region in accordance with the RDJTF command relationships approved this summer.4

Harold Brown
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 28, Middle East Command Post: 4–10/80. Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. Attached but not printed are two routing charts entitled “Command Relationships (Saudi Arabia/Adjacent Waters)” and “Comm/Data Flow.”
  4. See Document 88.