OPCON or Operational Control is the authority to give orders for regional or local employment of a military unit. Command staff and Battalion or Company Commanders generally function within OPCON passing TACON down to lower echelons for the hands on or "trigger pulling" action in the field. Company Commanders generally live between OPCON and TACON ensuring that orders are physically carried out in the field.
Generally OPCON and ADCON authorities belong to the same Command Staff. It is important to separate the two because ADCON functions without the added fog and friction of a deployed field environment. It is also critical to understand ADCON and OPCON differences because one community can pass along OPCON without losing ADCON authorities. In creating and overseeing alliances and cooperative campaigns, the separation between ADCON, OPCON, and TACON assuages the tension and anxieties present in wanting to maintain individual identities and overall presence to avoid the appearance of or the actual occurrence of "poaching" members.
Commanders are directed to put ADCON, OPCON, and TACON concepts into practice in order to clearly, concisely, and completely communicate the Scheme of Maneuver and expectations throughout the command structure internally and externally with allies and friends.