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Mon Sep 23, 2019, 04:24 PM

Passing the paramilitary torch from the CIA to Special Operations Command

Passing the paramilitary torch from the CIA to Special Operations Command
By: Douglas A. Livermore   September 10 Military Times

...To many even within the U.S. government, most of U.S. Special Operations Command’s Operational Preparation of the Environment activities are already virtually indistinguishable from the CIA’s paramilitary activities, as they employ many of the same methodologies to establish and manage human and physical infrastructure in semi-permissive and denied areas to support U.S. strategic objectives. Further highlighting this confused perception, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has previously argued that, “in categorizing its clandestine activities, the Defense Department frequently labels them as ‘Operational Preparation of the Environment’ to distinguish particular operations as traditional military activities and not as intelligence functions. The committee observes, though, that overuse of the term has made the distinction all but meaningless.” Shifting primacy of responsibility for paramilitary activities from the CIA to U.S. Special Operations Command and consolidating it with the existing Operational Preparation of the Environment mission would serve the dual purpose of maximizing the effectiveness of paramilitary capabilities while also potentially addressing the growing tensions related to the oversight disparity between paramilitary and clandestine activities.
...
Congress, for its part, would need to pass the requisite legislation to enable the Defense Department to assume this responsibility through appropriate reorganization, appropriations, and oversight mechanisms. Currently, Title 10 of USC does not specify paramilitary activities as a primary mission for U.S. Special Operations Command, which will require an amendment to Title 10, the invocation of Title 50 by the secretary of defense, or the creation of an entirely new legislative authority for U.S. Special Operations Command to exercise its authority as lead department for paramilitary activities. The next NDAA should direct U.S. Special Operations Command, through the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, to reorganize to facilitate paramilitary activities within the Defense Department...

Next, the appropriations committees should explore additional funding lines to allow U.S. Special Operations Command to assume its new paramilitary activities leadership role and draft required legislative language into the next NDAA...


More: https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2019/09/10/passing-the-paramilitary-torch-from-the-cia-to-special-operations-command/#.XYkF34HQd7E.twitter

Originally printed in: https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/passing-paramilitary-torch-cia-special-operations-command

Turf battle with the CIA plus more money. Some of the SOC force size is laid out. The article is heavy with institutional jargon. The argument basically is why not use the more capable, better equipped and trained force. It makes one wonder about the scale of the operations they have in mind. Or perhaps how many different simultaneous operations? I noticed that the author incorporated the "near peer competitor" label to reassert the mission in light of the emergence of more conventional peer rival threats in an environment, "short of war." Recently this has been commonly considered to be to the detriment of legacy "war on terror" military priorities.

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