SOCOM is seeking a freer hand in deploying his operators:
As the United States turns increasingly to Special Operations forces to confront developing threats scattered around the world, the nation’s top Special Operations officer, a member of the Navy Seals who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, is seeking new authority to move his forces faster and outside of normal Pentagon deployment channels.
The officer, Adm. William H. McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command, is pushing for a larger role for his elite units who have traditionally operated in the dark corners of American foreign policy. The plan would give him more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed.
It would also allow the Special Operations forces to expand their presence in regions where they have not operated in large numbers for the past decade, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The proposals are put forward as a new model for warfare in an age of diminishing Pentagon budgets, shrinking numbers of troops and declining public appetite for large wars of occupation, according to Pentagon officials, military officers and civilian contractors briefed on the plan. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because no decisions have been made.
Under the new concepts, a significant number of Special Operations forces — projected at 12,000 — would remain deployed around the world. While commando teams would be on call for striking terrorist targets and rescuing hostages, just as significant would be the increased number of these personnel deployed on training and liaison assignments and to gather information to help the command better predict approaching national security risks.
Officials stressed that in almost all cases, Special Operations forces would still only be ordered on specific missions by the regional four-star commander.
“It’s not really about Socom running the global war on terrorism,” Admiral McRaven said in a brief interview last week, referring to the Special Operations Command. “I don’t think we’re ready to do that. What it’s about is how do I better support” the regional combatant commanders.
If better support for the regional COCOMs means getting out from under the heavyweights inside the Puzzle Palace and the striped-pants set at State, then I’ve got a pretty good idea on where we can cut government spending.