1: In the beginning
Joint Forces Command's origins trace back to 1947
During the peacetime that followed World War II, the military applied lessons learned from the war, adopting a new system of organization under a single secretary of defense. The system established the U.S. Air Force, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and new commands made up of components from more than one military service. These new multi-service or unified commands had broad, continuing missions and were intended to ensure that forces from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps would all work together.
The unified commands were either responsible for a geographical area (like Europe or the Pacific) or a specific function, such as transportation. Atlantic Command (now U.S. Joint Forces Command) was created as the unified command with responsibility for the Atlantic Ocean geographical region.
Due to the maritime nature of its missions, Atlantic Command was integrated with the Navy's existing Atlantic Fleet and was primarily staffed by Navy and Marine Corps personnel. Its initial mission was to guard sea lanes between Europe and the U.S. East Coast. As the Cold War heated up during the second half of the century, Atlantic Command's mission proved crucial protecting sea lanes in the Atlantic.
Cooperation with NATO enabled Atlantic Command to form a coalition of strategically located bases and operational forces in the North Atlantic that could provide continuous protection and surveillance operations throughout the Cold War.
Although the Soviet surface navy didn't pose a considerable threat in the Atlantic, their submarines threatened NATO's defense of Western Europe. Consequently, Atlantic Command aircraft, ships and submarines were continually deployed to monitor and deter Soviet submarine operations in the Atlantic.
Additionally, because of the dangers of Soviet air attack, Atlantic Command maintained a line of radar stations from Greenland, through Iceland, to the United Kingdom. From bases in Iceland, Air Force units assigned to Atlantic Command intercepted Soviet aircraft in the North Atlantic.