There is a lot more in the world than terrorism. I think we really need to cease being a one trick pony and putting everything in the counterterrorism box. I am really coming to believe that our myopic focus on terrorism is one of the reasons we are unable to develop good policy and strategy with balance and coherency among ends, ways, and means. Yes terrorism is a threat but it is not the only threat and it is actually only a part of or a supporting element of larger and more comprehensive strategies of our enemies. But this is an illustration of the tired adage about nails and hammers. We need to take a step back from terrorism and force ourselves to think more strategically and creatively and understand the full range of strategic problems we face. Further, rather than looking to establish these funds we should focus on informing Congress of the strategy and requesting funding for specific campaign plans designed to support national policy and achievement of the established objectives of the strategy. Establishing these funds without clearly articulated strategy and campaign plans prevents us from exercising the intellectual rigor needed to address the security challenges we face. In effect these funds make us intellectually weak.
All that said this is an important quote from GEN Votel:
“I do think it is important that we continue to have SOF forces forward deployed in locations where they can assess, they can understand, and they can, most importantly, work with our international partners who share our interests," he said.
He is articulating some of the important tasks that are routinely conducted by SOF in the conduct of special warfare and that can facilitate surgical strike operations by appropriate forces when the situation warrants. But the special warfare forces are the ones who can conduct continuous assessments of a wide range of security threats to include terrorism but also well beyond. And it is the special warfare forces that are the appropriate ones to be working through and with international partners (and train advise and assist host nation and indigenous forces). If I were king for a day I would include the following among foundational SOF tasks:
• SOF (primarily those that conduct special warfare) must have as a primary task on every deployment (from JCET to JCS Exercise to Combat Operations
to others) to spot and assess resistance and insurgent organizations and assess their resistance potential.
• These organizations (from potential to nascent to developed) must be identified, assessed, and tracked. If "friendly" or aligned to our interests we can consider working through and with them. If hostile to our interests (or friends, partners, and allies) then we must focus on developing the capability and strategy to counter them, often working through and with host nation elements.
With this as a foundational task, SOF would exploit its unique capabilities to provide situational awareness and situational understanding of significant threats around the world that would include those organizations that use terrorism as part of their strategy but also do so much more to threaten the interests of the US and its friends, partners, and allies.
I would also take GEN Votel's comment one step further. Rather than simply forward deployed, we need to have the right SOF forward stationed so that there is long term continuous presence in the right areas of the world and so we can eliminate the strategy of "random acts of touching" that characterize our deployments of JCETs, JCS exercises and others where we simply deploy forces for relatively short periods of time to conduct training when long term presence is needed to really support strategy and campaign plans (those short term deployments are necessary and important for some SOF and conventional forces but we need a long term presence of specific SOF to provide the capabilities to achieve
our objectives). We have many historical examples of SOF forward stationed to accomplish a variety of different objectives from DET-A in Berlin, 46th Company in Thailand DET-T in Taiwan, to DET-K in Korea and others.
And again at the risk of beating a dead horse this requires a comprehensive strategy and supporting (and supported) campaign plans.
Lawmakers leery of counterterrorism fund
defense/budget-appropriations/ 212739-lawmakers-leery-of- obamas-counterterrorism-fund? utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium= twitter
By Kristina Wong - 07/20/14 06:00 AM EDT
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