That much is confirmed by Barry Pavel, vice president of the Atlantic Council think tank who served on the National Security Council (NSC) for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. "It takes a network to fight a network," he told DW, adding that most of what SOCCOM does involves cooperating with foreign governments, rather than direct military action. "The largest proportion of USSOCOM is the engagement function - either training, or helping them to get a better sense of how to deal with their own internal threats."
V/RPavel agrees that there is a case to be had for a legitimate debate, but also warns about the possible repercussions. "To the extent you make it transparent you actually reduce their effectiveness to a degree. It depends on what you're talking about in terms of transparency."