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Peter M. SwartzChester L. Eiland, Jr.Michael C. MarkowitzMaureen A. Wigge
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This study is an analytical or "applied" history of the relationship between the V.S. Navy and the commands designated in the Vnified Command Plan (VCP). It is intended for use as a reference document by Navy planners developing policies regarding the VCP. For those planners, it answers two main questions:

  • Just how did the Navy get here, anyway?
  • How can knowing any of this help Navy and other planners now and in the future?

Bottom Line

Our analyses show that history has a message for the contemporary U.S. Navy. In this regard, Navy planners should:

  • Strive to create and maintain VCP command structures within which naval operational commanders of the future can optimally participate in and/or lead Joint Task Force operations.
  • Focus less on creating or maintaining VCP structures that serve primarily to protect the institutional health of the Navy. The Navy's institutional health is sound and the VCP is not an important variable in its determination.
  • Accordingly, listen more to the views of the numbered fleet commanders on their command relationship requirements for future joint littoral operations, since they will be the Navy commanders actually participating in future joint littoral operations.
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CNA Historical Paper Sereis

CNA publishes documents in its Historical Paper Series to highlight previously unpublished works with historical perspectives that may be of use to current and future researchers. The content of this paper is current through its initial writing in 1999. It is presented in its original format.

Approved for public released.


  • Pages: 432
  • Document Number: DIM-2019-U-022389-1Rev
  • Publication Date: 8/6/2021
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