Thought for the Day

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Commander Seeks to Chart a New Path for Special Operations


The "SOF antibodies" that exist:

Admiral McRaven’s goal is to recast the command from its popular image of commandos killing or capturing terrorists, and expand a force capable of carrying out a range of missions short of combat — including training foreign militaries to counter terrorists, drug traffickers and insurgents, gathering intelligence and assessing pending risk, and advising embassies on security.
But along the way, the ambitious Admiral McRaven has run into critics who say he is overreaching, or as one Congressional critic put it, “empire building” at a time when the military is shrinking its footprint in Afghanistan and refocusing on other hot spots around the world. Congress has blocked, at least temporarily, an idea to consolidate several hundred of the command’s Washington-based staff members in a $10 million-a-year satellite office here, saying it would violate spending limits on such offices. 
At the same time, Admiral McRaven has also faced criticism that he is encroaching on the turf of the military’s traditionally powerful regional commanders.
V/R
Dave
A Commander Seeks to Chart a New Path for Special Operations


Published: May 1, 2013

WASHINGTON — Not long after Adm. William H. McRaven led the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, he was put in charge of the nation’s entire contingent of Special Operations forces, and set to work revamping them to face a widening array of new threats as America’s combat role in the Middle East and southwest Asia winds down.
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His efforts to apply the lessons learned from more than a decade of fighting in the shadows of the larger wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have high-level support from a White House and Pentagon eager to avoid large-scale foreign interventions and to encourage allies to assume more of the burden of combating extremism and instability.

Admiral McRaven’s goal is to recast the command from its popular image of commandos killing or capturing terrorists, and expand a force capable of carrying out a range of missions short of combat — including training foreign militaries to counter terrorists, drug traffickers and insurgents, gathering intelligence and assessing pending risk, and advising embassies on security.

But along the way, the ambitious Admiral McRaven has run into critics who say he is overreaching, or as one Congressional critic put it, “empire building” at a time when the military is shrinking its footprint in Afghanistan and refocusing on other hot spots around the world. Congress has blocked, at least temporarily, an idea to consolidate several hundred of the command’s Washington-based staff members in a $10 million-a-year satellite office here, saying it would violate spending limits on such offices.
At the same time, Admiral McRaven has also faced criticism that he is encroaching on the turf of the military’s traditionally powerful regional commanders.

Shortly before leaving the Pentagon, former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta granted Admiral McRaven new authority to make staffing decisions in the Special Operations units assigned to the regional commanders. While they will still have the final say on missions in their region, Admiral McRaven will now have the ability to allocate the much sought-after 11,000 deployed Special Operations forces where he determines intelligence and world events indicate they are most needed.
“I don’t command and control anything,” Admiral McRaven said in an interview. “I hope to be able to influence some of their decisions. But I’m not going to move pieces around the chessboard.”

As for the office he has sought in Washington, Admiral McRaven couches his plans to consolidate the command’s disparate operations into a new “National Capital Region” office in similar reform-minded terms, telling Congress in April that it would “better support coordination and decision-making” with other federal agencies.
(Continued at the link below)


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