coordination control

The CINCFE "coordination control" directive was actually issued on 15 July 1950 as an answer to General Stratemeyer's letter of 8 July 1950, but it was generally referred to as the "8 July" directive. See Chapter 2, pp. 49-50.

Air Force

General Stratemeyer felt that to coordinate carrier and FEAF operations over Korea, he needed to control naval air operations,

"including the targets to be hit and the area in which they operate."45

When Adm. C. Turner Joy, Commander of naval forces in the Far East (COMNAVFE), objected, Stratemeyer clarified that by control he meant

"the authority to designate the type of mission, such as air defense, close support of ground forces, etc., and to specify the operational details such as targets, times over targets, degree of effort, etc., within the capabilities of the forces involved."46

Again, he stressed that to get the most out of air power resources, FEAF needed operational control of all FEAF and NAVFE air resources to ensure de-confliction [is not a word] of targets and effective coordination of all air efforts.

July 11, 1950

The Navy still did not agree, but in an 11 July 1950 meeting, an agreement was made for FEAF to have coordination control over Navy air--a new term with different meanings to the Air Force and Navy.47

July 15, 1950

Following this agreement, the Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group drafted a directive which issued without further coordination over General Almond's signature on 15 July.

"When both Navy Forces, Far East, and Far East Air Forces are assigned missions in Korea," read this directive, "coordination control, a Commander in Chief, Far East, prerogative, is delegated to Commanding General, Far East Air Forces. #47

September 4, 1950

The term "coordination control" was almost an oxymoron in the Korean War. Throughout the war, both General Stratemeyer and his successors had trouble establishing either "coordination" or "control" of the various Air Force, Navy, Marine, and foreign air units fighting in Korea. One reason for this problem was that the term was a newly-coined one and had not been officially defined. Almost as an afterthought, the following unofficial definition was prepared by a GHQ staff officer later in the war:

"Coordination control is the authority to prescribe methods and procedures to effect coordination in the operations of air elements of two or more forces operating in the same area. It comprises basically the authority to disapprove operations of one force which might interfere with the operations of another force and to coordinate air efforts of the major FEC commands by such means as prescribing boundaries between operating areas, time of operations in areas and measures of identification between air elements."

(Futrell No. 71, p 12.) Despite the fact there was no official definition of the term, General MacArthur never clarified its meaning and apparently never intended to. MacArthur evidently attached little importance to this matter, his July 8 directive on this subject being written in such a way as to indicate that his headquarters would retain the final say on "coordination control."

With the term un-clarified by MacArthur and only an unofficial definition written much later, it is no wonder "coordination control" would remain ambiguous and subject to diverse interpretations by the various services. It remained a problem area for Stratemeyer for months, causing him to expend much energy and time on the subject that could have been better spent in other areas. (Futrell, pp 49-51, 54-55; Futrell No. 71, p 12.)



The Navy believed its air component had to support the sea campaign first. Although in Korea there was virtually no battle for the sea, there was significant concern over a Communist invasion of Formosa, for which the Navy was responsible. It interpreted the term coordination control as fitting its supporting force role and did not accept it as meaning that naval air forces were under the operational control of the air component command. While this arrangement may satisfy short contingency operations, it hampered the long-term theater air campaign.48