U.S Special Operations Leader to Report Directly to Acting Defense Secretary

The U.S. Defense Department, on Nov. 18, started the process of elevating special operations forces on par with military departments per authority from the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, according to the acting defense secretary.

Christopher C. Miller directed the assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict to report directly to him. His announcement was made to troops at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“This reform will immediately improve agility to the department and the command and will enable us to streamline information flow, enhance decision making, and more adaptively and adeptly support our commanders and their superb soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” he said.

The change is also in line with the National Defense Strategy and will bolster the department’s efforts to remain ahead in the great power competition with Russia and China as well as combating transnational threats, he added.

Miller said he hopes that in the future, Congress will elevate the ASD (SO/LIC) position to under secretary of defense.

In other remarks, Miller said that yesterday, the president ordered the downsizing of the U.S. force presence in Afghanistan and Iraq by 2,500 troops in each country by Jan. 15, “in a manner that protects our fighting men and women and our hard-earned gains.”

He added: “Should any actors underestimate our resolve, or attempt to undermine our efforts, we will not hesitate to restore deterrence and defeat any and all threats.”

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, acting under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, who also spoke, noted that President John F. Kennedy predicted the need for special operations forces, which are particularly suited to unconventional warfare.

“The global demands for special operations forces, then and now has confirmed President Kennedy’s foresight. And now under the leadership of President [Donald J.] Trump, we are fully realizing President Kennedy’s prescient view of special operations forces,” he said.



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