The August 11, 2013 Defense News (See: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130811/DEFREG02/308110001/DoD-Weighs-Major-COCOM-Realignment - which is also the photo source) addressed a realignment of the combatant commands. According to the article consideration is being given to a major reorganization which would reduce costs by eliminating HQ overhead – perhaps over 5,000 military and civilian slots and the associated real estate and operating expenses.
The potential realignment reduces the number of COCOMs to four and eliminates two of the current COCOMS:
1. An “Americas Command” which would consist of the current NORTHCOM AND SOUTHCOM.
4. PACOM which would not include Afghanistan and Pakistan
While anything contemplated by the Pentagon is like mating elephants (done slowly at high levels), its worth a moment to consider what the potential impact of such a realignment would mean on MISO.
Overall, it would appear that this potential reorganization would simply the chain of command and take into account many of the cultural anomalies that have plagued the current schema.
Moving Afghanistan and Pakistan under PACOM makes a great deal of sense and takes into account the intertwined nature of these two countries.
The combination of NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM could mean a leveling of resources which would facilitate rotation of more personnel through SOUTHCOM assignments than would otherwise be possible. In theory this could also facilitate Spanish and Portuguese language training throughout the command.
Perhaps the greater concern is not so much which 4* is in charge, but how the MISO force would be composed and what changes can be expected as a result of the sequester process. Operators need to be focused on cultural and linguistic skills in addition to MISO professional skills. The AC and the RC must sort out responsibilities and develop on-going relationships so that deployments are a continuation of business as usual rather than a surprise partnering. However, some strategic thought needs to be given on how to manage the potential realignment with a minimal impact on the force and its ability to execute the mission.
The nature of trouble spots and potential trouble spots doesn’t change simply because the Pentagon changes its maps. The Middle East will continue to roil in its own troubles and the nature of insurgencies in Africa and elsewhere will continue to grow unabated while Latin America and Central America present their own challenges. MISO will be there no matter who is at the top of the Command chain.