Small Wars Journal

Lawmakers Skeptical of Global Special Operations Plan

Sat, 08/10/2013 - 9:38pm

Lawmakers Skeptical of Global Special Operations Plan by Paul McCleary, Defense News.

Sometime next month, the heads of the US military’s global combatant commands will convene at the Tampa, Fla., headquarters of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to be briefed on an ambitious and controversial plan to revamp the way special operators deploy around the globe.

The concept is the brainchild of Adm. William McRaven, who has been working toward fully unveiling the plan since taking command of SOCOM in 2011. The idea is to establish a formal framework in which US special operations forces (SOF), interagency partners and foreign allies join an alliance that promotes the sharing of intelligence, partner engagement, training and, if necessary, direct action…

Read on.


Dave Maxwell

Sat, 08/10/2013 - 10:55pm

Paul McLeary has performed an important service with this article. We have known about the friction with Congress for some time but I do not think that we have heard specific criticisms on the record from this range of Congressmen. And with all due respect to the Congressman, I think many of the views illustrate how little many really understand the nature of Special Operations beyond capturing and killing high value targets and the raid on Bin Laden. Of course we have a responsibility to educate politicians, policy makers and strategists so that they understand special operations (and in particular the offensive strategic option of unconventional warfare to be conducted by US military and interagency forces as well as the full range of missions and activities to counter unconventional warfare that is being conducted against us and our friends, partners, and allies). We do need to pay attention to the criticisms on transparency because what it really means is that we need to help educate them and this takes a lot more than a Capabilities Exercise demonstration or an Ambassadors Orientation brief.

However, if we do not get Congress back in support of USSOCOM (and as I have mentioned there is some irony in that USSOCOM would not exist if it were not for Congress and now Congress appears to be very suspicious and critical of USSOCOM), my real fear is that Congress and others will cause us to throw the baby out with the bathwater because of the friction over the Global SOF Network. Traditional Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations missions and activities among others need to be conducted and and for the foreseeable future more than ever. We do not need a Global SOF Network necessarily to conduct those activities though a comprehensive national strategy for conducting those activities integrated with and in support of the Geographic Combatant Commands and the Chiefs of Mission would be a good start. There is a lot more to be discussed, debated, and written on this topic and I hope a lot of people weigh in and help shape this in the proper way.