Special Operations - Obama Administration

Obama Administration

The past decade has seen U.S. national security strategy rely on special operations to an unprecedented degree. Identifying, hunting, and killing terrorists have become a central pillar in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Linda Robinson, Adjunct Senior Fellow for U.S. National Security and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the organizational structure has become flatter and cooperation with the intelligence community is stronger, allowing special operations to move at the “speed of war.” Special Operations appropriations are costly: Its budget has gone from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $10.5 billion in 2012. Some experts argue the investment is worthwhile, pointing to the raid in May 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Others claim that the emphasis on Special Operations precipitates a misconception that it is a substitute for prolonged conflict. “Raids and drone strikes are tactics that are rarely decisive and often incur significant political and diplomatic costs for the United States. Although raids and drone strikes are necessary to disrupt dire and imminent threats…special operations leaders readily admit that they should not be the central pillar of U.S. military strategy.” Instead, Special Operations commanders have stated that grand strategy should include their “indirect approach,” which means working non-U.S. partners to accomplish security objectives. “Special Operations forces forge relationships that can last for decades with a diverse collection of groups: training, advising, and operation alongside other countries’ militaries, police forces, tribes, militias or other information groups”

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