Defense

July 26, 2012

Special operations more than just combat

by Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

The nation expects special operations forces to be successful every time they are called upon, but they’re not wholly about combat, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said in Aspen, Colo., July 25 during a discussion moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum.

“We get a lot of notoriety for the raids, for the rescue operations, and frankly we’re very proud of that,” Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said. “But the fact of the matter is that’s a small portion of what we do.”

The discussion, titled “At the Point of the Spear: The Role of Special Operations Forces in America’s Post-9/11, Post-Iraq/Afghanistan Defense Strategy,” opened the annual three-day forum. Topics ranged from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to what made McRaven decide to become a Navy SEAL.

McRaven said special operations forces are deployed to 79 countries, and the majority of those deployments are for partner capacity-building, not for combat missions.

“We’re trying to teach other nations how to deal with their own problems so they don’t grow violent extremists,” he said. “We’re building wells in places. We’re doing civil affairs operations. … There is a whole spectrum of things that special operations do that rarely get the press’s attention because it’s not ‘sexy.'”

Some nations have not followed the extremist route because special operations forces have been working there for decades, McRaven said.

The admiral also presented his views on a variety of topics that came up during the wide-ranging discussion:

— Pulling together defense and civilian agencies to make the bin Laden raid happen was easy, he said, because the interagency team has been built steadily over the last decade. “I’ve got to tell you, today it hums,” he added.

— “At the end of the day, all we care about is whether you carry your rucksack and you do your job,” he said when the discussion turned to gays in the military.

— On the Arab Spring: “What I know is democracy is hard,” he said. “I’ve watched it as we’ve tried to build democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. … It took us a long time as a nation to build a strong democracy, and it will probably take them some time.”

— On Afghanistan’s forces: “When you spend time with the guys that we spend time with, you realize they are just as patriotic, just as committed, just as tough, just as courageous as the American soldier that’s partnered with them,” McRaven said. “For the folks that we work with, I don’t think trust has ever been an issue.”

— Women have proven to be up to the task of serving in the nation’s special operations forces, the admiral said. “We have a lot of females who serve in special operations,” he noted. “They do a fantastic job across the board. … We couldn’t do the job without them.”

— McRaven credited a Green Beret soldier with helping him decide to become a SEAL. “This young Army captain came to meet my sister for a date,” he said. “My sister, as usual, was late, so I had an opportunity to talk to him for a little while. … He said, ‘If you’re going to go in the Navy, you ought to be a Navy SEAL.'”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 7, 2015

News: F-35 loses dogfight to fighter jet from 1980s – A new report alleges that an F-35A was defeated by the very aircraft it is meant to replace.   Business: South Korea selects Airbus for $1.33 billion tanker contract – European aerospace giant Airbus won a $1.33 billion deal June 30 to supply air refueling...
 
 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph

Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on ecoDemonstrator technology tests

U.S. Chamber of Commerce photograph Frederico Curado, president & CEO of Embraer, and Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, at the Brazil-U.S. Business Summit in Washington, D.C. The event occurred during an offici...
 
 
Untitled-2

Tactical reconnaissance vehicle project eyes hoverbike for defense

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, has been exploring the tactical reconnaissance vehicle, or TRV, concept for nearly nine months and is evaluating the hoverbike technology as a way to get Soldiers away from ground thre...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton

Upgraded AWACS platform tested at Northern Edge

Air Force photograph by SSgt. William Banton Maintenance crew members prepare an E-3G Sentry (AWACS) for takeoff during exercise Northern Edge June 25, 2015. Roughly 6,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen ...
 
 
LM-Legion

Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod™ takes to skies

Lockheed Martin photograph by Randy Crites Lockheed Martin’s Legion Pod recently completed its first flight test, successfully tracking multiple airborne targets while flying on an F-16 in Fort Worth, Texas. Legion Pod was in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First Marine graduates Air Force’s F-35 intelligence course

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Marine Corps 1st Lt. Samuel Winsted, an F-35B Lightning II intelligence officer, provides a mock intelligence briefing to two instructors during the F-35 Intelligence Formal Train...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>