The goals of this article are to suggest a basic wiring diagram for the motor neural network that controls motivated behavior, and to provide a model for the organization of cerebral hemisphere inputs to this network. Cerebral projections mediate voluntary regulation of a behavior control column in the ventromedial upper brainstem that includes (from rostral to caudal) the medial preoptic, anterior hypothalamic, descending paraventricular, ventromedial, and premammillary nuclei, the mammillary body, and finally the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. The rostral segment of this column is involved in controlling ingestive (eating and drinking) and social (defensive and reproductive) behaviors, whereas the caudal segment is involved in controlling general exploratory or foraging behaviors (with locomotor and orienting components) that are required for obtaining any particular goal object. Virtually all parts of the cerebral hemispheres contribute to a triple descending projection - with cortical excitatory, striatal inhibitory, and pallidal disinhibitory components - to specific parts of the behavior control column. The functional dynamics of this circuitry remain to be established.