U.S. Special Operations Are Expanding Dramatically

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With the recent tragic deaths of 31 Special Forces operators fresh in our minds it’s clear that our military elite are operating in full swing in America’s public wars but the U.S. Special Operations community is involved in many more then we will ever know. Currently the elite of our military are deployed to over 70 nations and are carrying out highly classified missions within those nations. The size and scope of the U.S. Special Operations community has increased dramatically since 2001 and it is only expected to grow in the coming years. The Pentagon is currently keeping its top fighters in about 60% of the World’s countries.

Special Operations has come under friendly scrutiny ever since a Navy SEAL shot Osama bin Laden twice including once in the head but the media has largely ignored our expanding military presence throughout the world at a time where it makes no financial sense to expand an empire. It isn’t a secret that the our Special Forces are operating within Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan but they’re also leaving boot prints on nations involved in conflicts where the U.S. doesn’t take an official stance. America’s top secret warriors are also said to be fighting within Yemen, Somalia, Syria and many more. At the end of the Bush administration SOCOM (Special Operations Command) had operators in 60 countries but Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that since then the number has reached 75.

US Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. “We do a lot of traveling – a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq,” he said recently. Al Jazeera’s Nick Turse.

Since the rocky creation of SOCOM in 1987 it has amassed an army of its own and is able to carry out its own conflicts with an array of specialized forces including.

  • Army “Green Berets”
  • Army Rangers
  • Navy SEALs
  • Air Force Commandos
  • Marine Corps Special Operations
  • Delta Force/CAG (Unofficial and never publicly acknowledged)
Not only do they have men to sling bullets from continent to continent but they’re supported by specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, civil affairs personnel, para-rescuemen, and even battlefield air-traffic controllers and special operations weathermen. Their missions are off the books to pretty much everyone within the military and most certainly the American public but according to Al Jazeera they’re carrying out everything from assassinations to  foreign troop training.
US Special Operations forces were approximately as large as Canada’s entire active duty military according to Admiral Olson

One of SOCOM’s many subdivisions is JSOC or Joint Special Operations Command which has been dubbed by General David Petraeus as “an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine”. This arm reports directly to the President and maintains a global list of people including U.S. citizens who either need to be captured or killed. The forces within JSOC collaborate with the CIA for everything from drone strikes to black site interrogations for HVT’s (High Value Target’s). The CIA has been dramatically expanding its operations within Somalia as was recently uncovered and SOCOM is rumored to be right there with them. With the famine and general chaos of Somalia I wouldn’t be surprised if another Operation Irene (think Black Hawk Down) takes place relatively soon.

Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven, the incoming SOCOM chief and outgoing head of JSOC (which he commanded during the bin Laden raid) assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that “as a former JSOC commander, I can tell you we were looking very hard at Yemen and at Somalia”.

Special Forces has not only grown in size but its budget has skyrocketed from $2.3 billion to $6.3 billion dollars and that does not include the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. SOCOM’s force abroad has quadrupled since 2001 and many are seeking to increase the size of certain unites like the Marine Corps Special Operations force.

Last year, as an analysis of SOCOM documents, open-source Pentagon information, and a database of Special Operations missions compiled by investigative journalist Tara McKelvey (for the Medill School of Journalism’s National Security Journalism Initiative) reveals, the US most elite troops carried out joint-training exercises in Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Germany, Indonesia, Mali, Norway, Panama, and Poland.

I have been a fan for increasing the size of the Special Operations sector for a long time now but I was unaware of the scale that it has expanded to and now even the Operators themselves want to get back to their shadowy roots. The United States since 2001 has almost abolished the secrecy surrounding the CIA and Special Forces. We basically just build “secret” bases in the middle of a town and when you ask where the Americans are they can take you to the front door. In the case of Special Forces everyone knows who you are when you step off the helicopter. Sure the midnight raids take place but the fact that you can grab direct quotes from SOCOM commanders about things that before were not even leaked to Congress show a brazen new approach from the United States. Secrecy isn’t as important as our powerful image it seems. The massive expansion of SF was highlighted last week when 31 Special Forces members were killed because they were all traveling back from a mission on a single helicopter. If you thought of SF in the 1990′s you’d think of a 4 man SEAL team rather than a platoon of men. If America is dead set on the size of its SOF then they need to rethink how they’re deploying these men and they need to closely guard their operations.

Source: Al Jazeera Learn More About Special Forces

Author: James

I am the owner and main author of My Bloggity Blog. I started this blog on a whim and it grew faster than I ever imagined. I seriously enjoy debating politics and foreign policy as I'm sure you've noticed but I also enjoy a wide array of other things that I try to include here.

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