In 1796 Thomas Jefferson said there were two types of American political parties, “One which fears the people most, the other fears the government.” In domestic politics the contemporary American political divide is equally wide and Americans should not expect their elected leaders to change course one iota. National defense is different. There is a… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: When Linda Robinson speaks, special operators listen.
The “silent professionals” are — for good reason — traditionally tight-lipped. The chief of Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven, proved that again today during a panel at the Wilson Center, giving eloquent non-answers to questions about what might transpire in Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. But McRaven made it clear that if you want to know what he’s really thinking about the future of SOCOM, you’d better pay attention to the panelist who sat two chairs down: former Central Command advisor and bestselling David Petraeus biographer Linda Robinson. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: America’s commandos have been darlings of the Congress, Pentagon, and the media since 9/11. Now, as Special Operations Forces reorient from Iraq and Afghanistan to lower-profile missions worldwide in places like Mali, they will need new sources of funding and new legal authorities — changes that may rub both Congress and the four armed services the wrong way.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report by Wilson Center scholar and sometime US Central Command advisor Linda Robinson, who interviewed more that 60 senior officers and civilian officials, released last week by the Council on Foreign Relations. Keep reading →
[UPDATED with comments from Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, SOCEUR]WASHINGTON: Even the celebrated Special Operations Command is feeling the budgetary bite of Washington dysfunction, SOCOM chief Adm. William McRaven said today.
“I haven’t gone through the list yet,” McRaven told reporters accosting him after a speech, but SOCOM will make cuts “just like the services” (the Air Force, Army, and Navy and Marines have all outlined painful impacts) to accommodate both the continuing resolution, which sets spending at 2012 levels in the absence of a proper appropriations bill, and sequestration, the automatic across-the-board cuts set to take effect in March. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: After a decade of war in which they played a key role and were rewarded with a doubling of their forces and budget, Special Operations leaders want still more — more people, more money and more authority to decide where their troops go and what they do.
Those goals are likely to clash with the conventional military’s traditional lines of authority and the certainty that their force structure and funding will drop as Washington struggles with a soaring national debt. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Over the next few years, Special Operations forces will gradually revert to the role that has been their bread and butter for much of their existence: training and assisting local forces around the globe to strengthen partners militaries.
The global Special Operations presence will be large, some 12,000 troops around the world, according to Michael Sheehan, assistant secretary of defense for special operation/low intensity conflict (ASD SOLIC). There are roughly 4,500 Special Operation troops already in Afghanistan. Keep reading →