Monday, June 10, 2013

Is US Winding Down Spec Ops Mission in the Philippines?

Perhaps this will be the first test of the new Unified Command Plan.  Who is in command of the mission in the Philippines:  USSOCOM or USPACOM?  I ask that rhetorically because I think we all know the Combatant Commander is in charge.

But all rhetoric above aside this statement is patently false and does extreme disservice to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (the local forces) who have complete authority.
The Philippine national police and armed forces “have made significant gains in terms of capability and ability to manage the security situation in the southern Philippines over the past decade with targeted non-combat assistance from the United States,” he said, adding that “there’s a point in the future — not defined, no time line established” — when there would be a transition to local forces. 
And while there are discussions about handing ultimate authority over to local forces, he cautioned that no timeline has been set for the cessation of the American mission.
The Philippines is not Afghanistan or Iraq.  US forces have never been in command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines operations in the sovereign nation of the Philippines .  I have to point out that the comments about transition to local forces do not appear to be direct quotes. And I certainly hope that no US military or government official made such incorrect statements because if we do then we have not learned how these types of missions are conducted.  This is a Foreign internal defense mission:  US joint and interagency forces provide support to friends, partners, or allies' internal defense and development programs to help them defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency and terrorism.  US forces are not in charge.  Again the Philippines is not Afghanistan and Iraq but I am afraid that Afghanistan and Iraq are the default setting for some.
V/R
Dave


Is US Winding Down Spec Ops Mission in the Philippines?

Jun. 10, 2013 - 05:04PM   |  
 By PAUL MCLEARY   |   Comments

WASHINGTON — As US Adm. William McRaven works to expand the reach of his Special Operations Command to include broad intelligence sharing globally among deployed SOF and foreign partners, one key SOF mission of the past decade could soon start winding down.

Due to its successes in training and supporting local forces, there are discussions about transitioning the 11-year American special operations mission in the Philippines over to Philippine forces, McRaven said during a June 5 conference in Washington.

The mission to advise and assist local forces has largely flown under the radar since Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan. The Philippines operation kicked off in January 2002, and 15 American special operators have died there in accidents, with two more killed by an IED attack in 2009.

There are about 500 US special operators working in the Philippines currently, USAF Maj. Gen. Norman Brozenick, commander of Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC), told Defense News. And while there are discussions about handing ultimate authority over to local forces, he cautioned that no timeline has been set for the cessation of the American mission.

The Philippine national police and armed forces “have made significant gains in terms of capability and ability to manage the security situation in the southern Philippines over the past decade with targeted non-combat assistance from the United States,” he said, adding that “there’s a point in the future — not defined, no time line established” — when there would be a transition to local forces.

When asked why McRaven indicated the mission could conclude in a year or so, Brozenick, who reports to PACOM commander Adm. Samuel Locklear, said that “specifically and directly, I have no guidance from my boss in terms of a timeline for an end of the mission in the Philippines. We are talking about transitioning focus to enable authorities, but no timeline to end that operation.”


The 500 US special operations and general purpose forces operating in the Philippines fall under the umbrella of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), providing logistical, intelligence and civil affairs-related advice to Philippine military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
(Continued at the link below)


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