United States Central Command (CENTCOM) was established January 1, 1983. As its name implies, CENTCOM covers the "central" area of the globe located between the European, Africa and Pacific Commands. When the hostage crisis in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan underlined the need to strengthen U.S. interests in the region, President Jimmy Carter established the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) in March 1980. To provide a stronger, more lasting solution in the region, President Ronald Reagan took steps to transform the RDJTF into a permanent unified command over a two-year period. The first step was to make the RDJTF independent of U.S. Readiness Command, followed by the activation of CENTCOM in January 1983. Overcoming skeptical perceptions that the command was still an RDJTF in all but name, designed to support a Cold War strategy, took time. The Iran-Iraq war clearly underlined the growing tensions in the region, and developments such as Iranian mining operations in the Persian Gulf led to CENTCOM's first combat operations.