Integration of Parent Services is a Top Priority for Special Operations Components > US Department of Defense > Defense Department News

Better integration with parent services is just one of the ways leaders of the four service components of U.S. Special Operations Command believe they can improve their own preparedness for the future.

The US military has spent 20 years in the Middle East – in Iraq and Afghanistan – fighting a counterinsurgency. This gave America’s adversaries plenty of time to assess how the US military works and how they might go about finding ways to undermine its effectiveness.

Now the United States is largely out of the Middle East and has turned its attention to the prospects of conflict with adversaries close to its peers – nation states which, unlike the combatants encountered in the Middle East, could be able to match the battlefield prowess of the U.S. Army with manpower and equipment.

On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, commanders of the four military service components of U.S. Special Operations Command discussed what they believe is needed now to prepare for possible near-peer competition with nation-state armies.

“I believe that Special Operations Forces service components are most effective when we are closest to our parent services,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. James C. Slife, Commander of Operations Command. Air Force specials. “I think one of the places where we see a value proposition for SOF is in enabling our service – especially in conflict-type scenarios – to enable our broader service, you know, parents, to to be efficient.”

Slife also told lawmakers during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that within AFSOC there was work to be done in the areas of integrated air defense and counterspace operations.

“There are a lot of very critical abilities that our opponents rely on in those areas and I think SOF brings a unique ability to perform,” he said.

Naval Special Warfare Command said it will need to refocus its own efforts on the unique capabilities only they can bring to joint forces combat, a break from two decades of focus on counterterrorism.

“For naval special warfare, we clearly flew over counterterrorism,” said Navy Rear Admiral Hugh W. Howard III, commander of NSWC. “We have lost ground in the distinctive things that only we can do – and we are moving urgently to do the essential, the things that only we can do in the maritime realm.”

Howard also told lawmakers that cyber warfare and electronic warfare were also part of NSWC’s future.

“With cyber and electronic warfare, with our proximity access to difficult targets, we see ourselves as part of this chain of destruction, extending the reach of cyber and electronic warfare enterprises,” he said.

Finally, he said, there is fleet integration – where he said it would be important for the NSWC to use the Navy’s larger fleet and joint force to exercise its own capability. survival and lethality.

Army Lt. Gen. Lt. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, commander of United States Army Special Operations Command, said developing information operations capabilities is critical to its community.

“Informational advantage [and] information operations – I think we watch it daily, the strategic impact it has,” Braga said. in general, governments, armies, morale and eroding their overall effectiveness.”

Braga also called special operations forces, space and cyber operations a “modern day triad”.

“I think we owe you the very best military advice and options – and national command authority – for flexible deterrence, flexible response options, that engage and optimize those three legs of the triad for options from both deterrence, but also maintaining dominance in areas for high-level conflict by supporting the joint force,” Braga said.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James F. Glynn, commander of U.S. Marine Forces Special Warfare Command, said the Navy’s special warfare component will need to review what it has done over the past 20 years and which can be continued.

“The choices we have to make right now are the … counter-terrorism skill sets, the things that we have invested in, that have developed very well over the last 20 years – how much does that translate into, in how well it translates and what else do we need to be able to do,” he said.

An area of ​​focus for MARSOC, he said, will be both cyber and space capabilities and its integration with special operations.

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