Thursday, September 11, 2014

Retired Marine Gen. John Allen to coordinate Iraq, Syria effort

If I could make one recommendation to GEN Allen it would be to consider establishing a SOF-led command that could integrate the entire special warfare and surgical strike efforts.  Since it appears that special operations are going to provide the bulk of the ground advisory forces and the effort in Syria is likely to be one of unconventional warfare this might be a good time to employ SOF operational art that balances special warfare and surgical strike in order  to orchestrate the entire SOF effort on the ground.  I would recommend this so as not to become overly fixated on the counterterrorism effort and better employ the capabilities across the entire spectrum of SOF.  Interestingly I learned this summer that the old US Army Special Forces Command has be reorganized and re-designated as the 1st Special Forces Command and now consists of not only Special Forces but also Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations forces.  But most importantly it has developed a cadre of campaign planners to support the Theater Special Operations Commands.  These campaign support teams and the operational division equivalent headquarters might be well suited for orchestrating the campaign in Iraq and Syria (especially in Syria since it appears to  be an unconventional warfare heavy operation).  If I were GEN Allen I would ask for this capability.

Although some might say that it is not a tested HQ, I would be willing to bet that it would be superior to any ad hoc HQ we are putting together.  And I would say that this mission is not an appropriate one for JSOC, even if some special mission units may be employed.  The diversity of the special warfare requirements go beyond JSOC and its superior hyper-conventional killing capabilities.  

Retired Marine Gen. John Allen to coordinate Iraq, Syria effort

The Associated Press
Published: September 11, 2014
WASHINGTON - Retired Marine Gen. John Allen will coordinate the broad international effort to battle the Islamic State militants, as the campaign against the extremist group ramps up and nations begin to determine what role each will play, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Allen, who has been serving as a security adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, is expected to work with the almost 40 nations around the world who have agreed to join the fight and help them coordinate what each will contribute, several officials told The Associated Press.
The officials spoke about Allen's expected appointment on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an announcement.
Allen comes to the job with vast experience coordinating international allies on the warfront. He served as deputy commander in Iraq's Anbar province from 2006 to 2008, working with Arab partners on organizing the Sunni uprising against al-Qaida. He moved from there to serve for two years as the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military troops and operations in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
Allen next became the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2013, where he worked with international allies who sent troops to the battlefield.
As a result of his experience, Allen is very familiar many of the Middle East nations and leaders considered crucial to the latest effort to degrade and destroy the Islamic State group militants who have seized control of portions of Iraq and Syria in a ruthless reign of terror. He also has worked closely with most of the key military and diplomatic leaders, including Gen. Lloyd Austin, the current head of U.S. Central Command, who will oversee America's military campaign.
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday night that the U.S. will be expanding airstrikes in Iraq and into Syria, in an aggressive move to root out the Islamic State group extremists where ever they are. Obama, Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have spent the last week meeting with international leaders overseas in an effort to build a broad coalition of nations - particularly Arab countries in the region - to aid the fight.
Officials are looking for partners to help train moderate Syrian rebels, work with the Iraqi security forces, contribute equipment, ammunition, intelligence, logistics and funding, as well as possibly also launch airstrikes.

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