January 22, 2009: The U.S. Army Special Forces is trying to get their spending authority expanded, to better reflect their responsibilities in a war zone. For example, the CIA, not the Special Forces, has the authority to pay bribes to locals. The State Department, and other departments, but not the Special Forces, have the authority to dispense lots of money for construction projects. In reality, the Special Forces operators will scrounge up money from other U.S. government agencies when they can, and cut corners if necessary. What the Special Forces fears is that the new U.S. president will allow more prosecution of troops in general, and Special Forces operators in particular, for not following the rules to the letter.
As a solution for the problem, it's being suggested that Special Forces A Teams (12 Special Forces operators) add members of the CIA, State Department, or others as needed, to take care of the legal niceties. The Special Forces is not enthusiastic about this, even in situations where there is not a high risk of combat. While CIA operatives sometimes go along with Special Forces teams, this is not as much of a problem. For one thing, many of the CIA field operatives are former Special Forces, marines or rangers. This is much less the case with the State Department and other government organizations. It would be a lot simpler if the government just trusted the Special Forces to do the right thing with the additional money. In the past, they usually have. Not a lot of financial scandals coming out of the Special Forces. But the new U.S. government has to show what, if any, changes they will inflict on the troops, especially those who have the most complex and challenging jobs.