Leadership: August 20, 2005

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In early 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense made SOCOM (Special Operations Command) more powerful, making it an equal of the combat commands (one of which covers every part of the globe, with CENTCOM, or Central Command, dealing with the Middle East and Afghanistan.) SOCOM was also made the lead organization in Department of Defense operations against terrorists. That seemed like a prudent and straightforward decision. SOCOM has its own air force and support units. But complications soon arose. While SOCOM was the anointed leader in anti-terrorist operations, the combat commands already had intelligence and combat operations underway against terrorists in their parts of the world. While, in theory, SOCOM could take control of these local efforts, it was decided not to do that. The problem was that, while  SOCOM was an organization that could go and operate anywhere on the planet, it did not have day-to-day responsibility, as the combat commands did, for specific regions of the world. A solution has been worked out, one in which SOCOM synchronizes its counter-terrorist operations with all of those of the combat commands. This way, SOCOM would be able to spot opportunities for using its considerable commando type forces to nail a high value terrorist target.  SOCOM would cooperate with the combat commands on what terrorist targets to look for, and use their greater resources to plan and carry out operations against anything found. This may not be the solution to the problem, but at least someone's trying.

 


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