Dating special forces soldier
The highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), for example, carries out such counterterrorism operations, including drone strikes, raids, and assassinations in places like Iraq and Libya.Last year, before he exchanged command of JSOC for that of its parent, SOCOM, General Thomas noted that members of Joint Special Operations Command were operating in “all the countries where ISIL currently resides.” (This may indicate a special ops deployment to Pakistan, another country absent from SOCOM’s 2016 list.) “[W]e have put our Joint Special Operations Command in the lead of countering ISIL’s external operations.
And we’ve removed from the battlefield more than 20 of ISIL’s external operators and plotters…“In just the past few years, we have witnessed a varied and evolving threat environment consisting of: the emergence of a militarily expansionist China; an increasingly unpredictable North Korea; a revanchist Russia threatening our interests in both Europe and Asia; and an Iran which continues to expand its influence across the Middle East, fueling the Sunni-Shia conflict,” General Thomas wrote last month in PRISM, the official journal of the Pentagon’s Center for Complex Operations.“Nonstate actors further confuse this landscape by employing terrorist, criminal, and insurgent networks that erode governance in all but the strongest states.…They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab mirates.At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia, they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab.In one conflict zone after another across the northern tier of Africa and the Greater Middle East, US Special Operations Forces (SOF) waged their particular brand of low-profile warfare.
“Winning the current fight, including against the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and other areas where SOF is engaged in conflict and instability, is an immediate challenge,” the chief of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), General Raymond Thomas, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year.
We have entrusted this aspect of our campaign to one of [the Department of Defense’s] most lethal, capable, and experienced commands, our Joint Special Operations Command, which helped deliver justice not only to Osama Bin Laden, but also to the man who founded the organization that became ISIL, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.” Asked for details on exactly how many ISIL “external operators” were targeted and how many were “removed” from the battlefield by JSOC in 2016, SOCOM’s Ken Mc Graw replied: “We do not and will not have anything for you.” When he was commander of JSOC in 2015, General Thomas spoke of his and his unit’s “frustrations” with limitations placed on them.
“I’m told ‘no’ more than ‘go’ on a magnitude of about ten to one on almost a daily basis,” he said.
Last November, however, reported that the Obama administration was granting a JSOC task force “expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe.” That Counter-External Operations Task Force (also known as “Ex-Ops”) has been “designed to take JSOC’s targeting model…
and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.” SOCOM disputes portions of the story.
Its powers weren’t recently expanded as much as institutionalized and put “in writing,” Tom Dispatch was told.