Austerity Cloud Hovers Over Pentagon Wish List for Guerillas and Climate by Walter Pincus - The Cipher Brief
… Tucked into the Senate measure is language that Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said would provide Special Operations Command (SOCOM) “new authority designed to support the ability of our special operators to work with partners to counter irregular warfare, or so-called gray zone challenges, posed by our adversaries.”
A 2014, Joint Service publication on Special Operations doctrine defined irregular warfare as having two elements: Counterinsurgency through which the U.S. military offers support to “a nation state against an insurgency, resistance or terrorists;” or Unconventional Warfare in which support is offered to “an insurgency or resistance movement against a nation state.”
It described Unconventional Warfare operations as having objectives such as “supporting the insurgency/resistance movement so it can influence, coerce, disrupt, or foster a change in governing authority.”
The document recognizes the “sensitive nature” of Unconventional Warfare operations so that they require not only “coordination, deconfliction and integration” across the U.S. government, but also “potential strategic risk and diplomatic and/or political sensitivity” of such operations if they become public.
In short, Unconventional Warfare is much like covert operations undertaken by CIA, although they not only require a Presidential Finding but also reporting to Congress in a timely manner.
At a May 4, Senate Armed Services hearing, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), the ranking Democrat on the panel, asked Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III, SOCOM commander, whether he needed the same kind of authority he already had to justify aiding a country dealing with its counterterrorism problem when it came to the “gray areas of unconventional warfare,” meaning assisting those opposing their own government’s leadership…