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Coordinating authority

Definition In military operations, the term “Coordinating authority” refers to a commander or an individual who is assigned the responsibility of coordinating specific functions or activities involving forces of two or more military departments or two or more forces from the same military department. The coordinating authority does not have the authority to make decisions […]


In military operations, the term “Coordinating authority” refers to a commander or an individual who is assigned the responsibility of coordinating specific functions or activities involving forces of two or more military departments or two or more forces from the same military department. The coordinating authority does not have the authority to make decisions but can require consultation between the entities involved. The aim is to ensure common understanding or agreement.

Key Takeaways

  1. Coordinating Authority is a term used in military operations to describe a commander or individual assigned with the responsibility to coordinate specific activities or tasks. This person does not necessarily have authority to order actions or impose commands.
  2. The main purpose of a Coordinating Authority is to ensure smooth and effective communication and coordination between different military elements, departments, and agencies. This individual is often at the center of inter-agency dialogues and is essential for integrating and synchronizing efforts.
  3. Although the role involves coordination, the Coordinating Authority does not have the power to compel force or command other units outside of their own. In essence, the authority of such a role is advisory and cooperative, rather than directive.


The term “Coordinating Authority” in military operations is significantly important, as it refers to the elevated role given to commanders who are bestowed with the power and duty to synchronize activities of different units, functions, or departments.

This does not imply direct control, but instead, a level of oversight that assures all elements work seamlessly towards a shared objective.

The coordinating authority aids in managing resources, mitigating bottlenecks and conflicts, fostering communication, and promoting cooperation among various units.

They play a crucial role in planning, strategizing, and executing military operations effectively and efficiently, thus ensuring mission success.


The term “Coordinating authority” denotes an essential role in the sphere of military operations, primarily serving as a conduit for facilitating cooperation and coordination among different entities. Its main purpose is to ensure the smooth execution of an operation or mission by streamlining the communication between different military units, or between military and civilian or foreign components.

This is crucial, especially in joint and combined operations, where forces from various services or even countries must work closely together in a unified manner. Coordinating authority is utilized to harmonize activities, prevent duplications or conflicts, and promote synergistic efforts toward shared objectives.

They don’t have the mandate to make major command decisions or to levy requirements on the parties they coordinate with, but they have the responsibility to manage and resolve conflicts that may arise among those parties. Through this, it orchestrates the synchronization of efforts and acts as a critical factor for ensuring mission success because it brings unity to disparate elements and fosters an environment of mutual understanding and collaboration.

Examples of Coordinating authority

Operation Desert Storm: During this Gulf War military operation, the United States coordinated with 34 other nations to form a coalition against Iraq. The U.S. Department of Defense was the coordinating authority, leading and synergizing military efforts from different nations for a joint response.

NATO Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina: In 1995, NATO implemented bombings against the Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian War. NATO served as the coordinating authority to align the military interests and actions of its multiple member nations and to ensure that the intervention conforms to its adaptive rules of engagement.

United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Operations: In various peacekeeping operations like those in Congo, Kosovo, and Libya, the UN acts as the coordinating authority, bringing together military forces from several nations. They distribute responsibilities, guide strategic planning and operations, and ensure that all peacekeeping actions are harmoniously done for conflict resolution and maintaining peace.

Frequently Asked Questions about Coordinating Authority

What is Coordinating Authority?

Coordinating authority is a term used in the military to represent a commander or an individual that has been assigned the responsibility of coordinating specific services or functions. This authority doesn’t provide the power to command and it only exists for coordination between different departments.

What are the responsibilities of a Coordinating Authority?

A Coordinating Authority is required to facilitate and synchronize activities within his/her designated area or among designated organizations. They aim to ensure that all units work harmoniously to achieve the overall objectives of the military operation.

Does a Coordinating Authority have the power to command?

No, a Coordinating Authority does not have the power to command. The role of a Coordinating Authority mainly involves coordination and they can’t compel orders. However, they do hold the ability to recommend and set procedures or plans.

How is a Coordinating Authority chosen?

The process of designating a Coordinating Authority is usually dependent on the operation’s size and complexity, and the available and required resources. The decision is typically made by higher-ranking officials or commanders who consider these factors.

Why is Coordinating Authority significant?

Coordinating Authority plays a significant role in ensuring that all units in a military operation effectively work together. By facilitating collaboration and communication, the Coordinating Authority supports the achievement of the overall mission objectives. Without effective coordination, the efficiency of the operation could be compromised.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Case Management: This refers to the process of coordinating and managing health services and resources to cater to an individual’s specific health needs. In VA benefits, it could relate to the coordination of various services for veterans.
  • Veterans Affairs Department: This is the governing body that is responsible for implementing policies and distributing benefits to veterans. As a coordinating authority, they ensure that eligible individuals receive the needed support.
  • Benefit Claim: This term is used to describe the process of submitting a request for VA benefits. The coordinating authority is responsible for reviewing, processing, and granting these claims.
  • Veteran Advocacy: Veteran advocacy refers to organizations or individuals who work on behalf of veterans to ensure they receive due benefits from the coordinating authority.
  • Eligibility Requirements: These are the specific guidelines or qualifications veterans must meet to receive specific VA benefits. The coordinating authority is responsible for verifying these requirements.

Sources for More Information

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff official website: The Joint Chiefs of Staff is the body of the highest-ranking leaders of the United States military, tasked with advising the President, National Security Council, and Department of Defense. They can provide ample resources and insights on military operations terms including ‘Coordinating Authority’.
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) official website: The Department of Defense is the executive branch department charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government related directly to national security and the military.
  • NATO official Website: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an international alliance that consists of 30 member states from North America and Europe. It provides more international context and understanding of military operational terms.
  • United States Army official website: Provides in-depth knowledge about military terms and operations directly from one of the branches in the U.S. armed forces.

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