Moreover, operational control over the Marine strike force, including its air component, would not pass to COMNON until the amphibious objective had been obtained.
To COMNON it was unacceptable to turn over to an allied commander (who might not even be under NATO command) control over his own key areas--where his entire anti-invasion force of four to six mechanized infantry brigades and a considerable number of naval ships, submarines, and fighter aircraft would be concentrated--in order that a single light Marine amphibious brigade could deploy.
To further complicate the issue, the amphibious commander would he a foreigner, with much less knowledge and experience of operations in the highly demanding terrain and climate of northern Norway than COMNON and his subordinate commanders.
A solution that was acceptable to both parties would have to be based on confidence on the part of the Americans that COMNON had sufficient control in his area of responsibility that the size of the AOA could be reduced and its shape tailored to the geography in such a way that COMNON's units would not be unduly hindered in their movements while the amphibious landing was in progress.
Marine Aircraft in Support of COMNON's Air Campaign.
Also, according to current plans, COMNON was allocated only operational control over the U.S.
(35) As Striking Fleet crossed the line and approached the Norwegian coast, however, it did not change operational command or control to SACEUR but operated in accordance with current NATO procedures for "cross boundary operations." They required that all STRIKEFLT units establish radio communications with COMNON in order to report their positions and intended movement and to receive information about friendly units in the area, recognition procedures, IFF (identification, friend or foe) settings, and so on.
Another concern, from COMNON's perspective, was that this lack of adherence to agreed procedure reduced the value of the exercises to all participants and had a demoralizing effect on Norwegian naval and coast-artillery personnel, to whom the chance to interact with powerful allied units was something they had looked forward to immensely and prepared themselves for with enthusiasm.
A special problem was keeping track of, and deconflicting, carrier-based air under COMSTRIKFLTLANT and land-based air under COMNON. The combination of limited radar coverage and a shortage of civilian air controllers led to a situation where the traffic control system was unable to cover the large NATO exercises and at the same time deal with civilian traffic.