(1) The National Command Authority consists of the President of the United States and the Secretary
of Defense or their duly appointed alternates or deputies. Both movement of troops and execution of military
action must be directed by the NCA.
(2) The National Security Council was established by the National Security Act of 1947 and provides
a forum for discussing and considering national security issues that require Presidential decision. The members of
the NSC are the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and the Director of Central Intelligence are advisors to the NSC.
b. Department of Defense.
(1) Secretary of Defense. Since 1986, the Secretary of Defense clearly has undisputed control of the
department and the position in the chain of command is very clear.
(2) Joint Chiefs of Staff.
(a) The OJCS consists of the Chairman, the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval
Operations, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The chairman presides
over meetings and sets the agenda for the JCS. Duties as members of the JCS take precedence over duties as
chiefs of their respective services.
(b) The Joint Chiefs of Staff have no executive authority to command combatant forces. Combat
forces are assigned to a unified or specified command and those commanders exercise executive authority.
(c) The functions of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff are:
1 Furnish strategic direction of the Armed Forces
2 Prepare strategic plans, prepare joint logistic and mobility plans, and perform net
assessments of the capabilities of the Armed Forces.
3 Provide for preparation and review of contingency plans and advise on critical
deficiencies and strengths in force capabilities.
4 Advise on the priorities of requirements, advise on program recommendations and budget
proposals, and assess military requirements for defense acquisition programs.
5 Develop doctrine for joint employment and formulate policies for coordinating military
education and training.
6 Other functions of the Chief, OJCS are: