US Army Goes Underground: Special Ops Deployed Worldwide

According to Stars and Stripes, a U.S. Defense Department media outlet, the Pentagon is preparing to “unleash special operations troops worldwide as traditional military operations are cut back.”

The initiatve is presented as a cost-cutting endeavor.

With this new strategy, the U.S. switches from large scale theater operations to smaller “cost effective” covert military ops. The latter inevitably result in the violation of the national sovereignty of the targeted country.  

U.S. Special Operations Command chief Adm. Bill McRaven, who led the 2011 Bin Laden raid in Pakistan, has proposed that troops leaving the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan be redeployed in areas “somewhat neglected during the decade-long focus on al-Qaida”.

This would be carried out with a view to easing the launching of raids by Special Forces, such as the one which allegedly killed bin Laden, namely a covert operation which violated Pakistan’s sovereignty.

The deployment of commandos “closer to new crisis zones” will, according to AP, replace “land invasions [like] Iraq and Afghanistan […] by fast and light special operations raids that leave little trace, or better yet, raids by friendly local forces the U.S. has trained, helping fight mutual enemies side by side.”

Those troops could carry out raids or, more likely, work with local allies to teach them how to target regional enemies, as well as fostering long-term relationships, soldier to soldier, that can help defuse a crisis or coup years later.(Kimberly Dozier, Special operations expanding as wars recede, Associated Press, January 27, 2012)

Will that “help defuse a crisis or coup years later” or rather help foment coups?

The goal, according to a Defense official, is to “increase cooperation with foreign armies, working with them to defeat local threats instead of the U.S. shouldering the bulk of such fights”.

AP also reports that “funding for special operations and intelligence-gathering will increase – both emerging as the Obama White House’s preferred way to confront many global threats after a decade of costly land invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Basically the U.S. army is going underground. Worldwide.

AP further notes that “the far-flung special operations commands could also serve as a framework for boosted U.S. interagency cooperation, fusing not just regional allies, but U.S. agencies like the CIA, FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

Jule Lévesque contributed to this report.

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