Leadership: December 21, 2003

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In late 2001, the Department of Defense made SOCOM (the Special Operations Command) the main force going after terrorists world wide. But a major problem then arose. For decades, the Pentagon has run world wide operations by having regional headquarters in charge of each part of the planet. For example, Central Command (CENTCOM) is in charge of American military operations in the Middle East. What was not realized was that SOCOM could not automatically get the regional commanders to cooperate. While SOCOM often sends in its own forces, regional commanders still controlled most non-SOCOM American military and support forces. Decades old habits die hard, even though everyone agrees that SOCOM should aggressively pursue al Qaeda and other terrorists. But in hundreds of little ways ("I'll have to check with headquarters before I can help you sir"), SOCOM is slowed down by the CINCs (Commanders in Chief of the regional commands.) The Pentagon is aware of the problem, but a complete solution is not happening any time soon.

 


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