The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Coalition at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) in Tampa, Florida, is one of the largest military coalitions in U.S. history.
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the coalition began to form with a common purpose – to fight terrorism.
“Beginning on Sept. 12, having worked our way to a plan, which we executed or started to execute on Oct. 7, by the time we reached the end of September, we had a coalition here in Tampa of senior national representatives of some 15 or so nations,” said Army Gen. Tommy Franks, CENTCOM Commander in 2001. By June 2002, the coalition had grown to 34 national flags.
“[They] placed their forces into Operation Enduring Freedom, placed their forces—naval forces, air forces, special operations forces, ground forces—under our operational control,” said Franks. “They remain that way today [June 2002], very, very effective, and managed through some of the best coordination that I’ve seen between our own State Department, between this command, between the office of the secretary of defense, the joint staff involved in Washington.”
The strength and importance of the CENTCOM Coalition has continued for more than a decade. Having coalition members in Tampa has proved invaluable and helped ensure focused coordination and synchronization.
Coalition forces have made important contributions to fight terrorism across the spectrum of operations. Particular contributions include, but are not limited to, providing vital intelligence, personnel, equipment and assets for use on the ground, air and sea. Coalition members also have provided liaison teams, participated in planning, provided bases and granted over-flight permissions – as well as sizable contributions of humanitarian assistance.
The CENTCOM Coalition nations are working to promote peace and stability in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility and beyond. Their contributions are an example of how the international community is working together to enhance capabilities, share information, and address destabilizing issues in the region.