10 U.S. Code § 162. Combatant commands: assigned forces; chain of command

(a)Assignment of Forces.—
(1)
As directed by the Secretary of Defense, the Secretaries of the military departments shall assign specified forces under their jurisdiction to unified and specified combatant commands or to the United States element of the North American Aerospace Defense Command to perform missions assigned to those commands. The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that such assignments are consistent with the force structure prescribed by the President for each combatant command.
(2)
A force not assigned to a combatant command or to the United States element of the North American Aerospace Defense Command under paragraph (1) shall remain assigned to the military department concerned for carrying out the responsibilities of the Secretary of the military department concerned as specified in section 7013, 8013, or 9013 of this title, as applicable.
(3) A force assigned to a combatant command or to the United States element of the North American Aerospace Defense Command under this section may be transferred from the command to which it is assigned only—
(A)
by authority of the Secretary of Defense; and
(B)
under procedures prescribed by the Secretary and approved by the President.
(4)
Except as otherwise directed by the Secretary of Defense, all forces assigned to a unified combatant command shall be under the command of the commander of that command. The preceding sentence applies to forces assigned to a specified combatant command only as prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
(b)Chain of Command.—Unless otherwise directed by the President, the chain of command to a unified or specified combatant command runs—
(1)
from the President to the Secretary of Defense; and
(2)
from the Secretary of Defense to the commander of the combatant command.
Amendments

2018—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 115–232 substituted “section 7013, 8013, or 9013” for “section 3013, 5013, or 8013”.

2017—Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 115–91 struck out comma after “command of”.

2016—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 114–328, § 924(1), substituted “As directed by the Secretary of Defense” for “Except as provided in paragraph (2)” and “specified forces” for “all forces” and struck out “Such assignments shall be made as directed by the Secretary of Defense, including direction as to the command to which forces are to be assigned.” before “The Secretary of Defense”.

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 114–328, § 924(2), added par. (2) and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: “Except as otherwise directed by the Secretary of Defense, forces to be assigned by the Secretaries of the military departments to the combatant commands or to the United States element of the North American Aerospace Defense Command under paragraph (1) do not include forces assigned to carry out functions of the Secretary of a military department listed in sections 3013(b), 5013(b), and 8013(b) of this title or forces assigned to multinational peacekeeping organizations.”

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 114–328, § 924(3)(B), struck out “assigned to, and” before “under the command”.

Pub. L. 114–328, § 924(3)(A), which directed striking out “operating with the geographic area”, was executed by striking out “operating within the geographic area” after “all forces” to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1996—Subsec. (a)(1) to (3). Pub. L. 104–201 substituted “North American Aerospace Defense Command” for “North American Air Defense Command”.

1988—Subsec. (a)(1) to (3). Pub. L. 100–456 inserted “or to the United States element of the North American Air Defense Command”.

1987—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 100–180 inserted before period at end “or forces assigned to multinational peacekeeping organizations”.

Effective Date of 2018 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 115–232 effective Feb. 1, 2019, with provision for the coordination of amendments and special rule for certain redesignations, see section 800 of Pub. L. 115–232, set out as a note preceding section 3001 of this title.

Implementation of Assignment of Forces to Combatant Commands

Pub. L. 99–433, title II, § 214(a), Oct. 1, 1986, 100 Stat. 1018, provided that section 162(a) of this title shall be implemented not later than 90 days after Oct. 1, 1986.