GENERAL BRYAN D. BROWN, U.S. ARMY
UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
ON COMBATANT COMMAND POSTURE HEARING
MARCH 2, 2005
GENERAL BRYAN D. BROWN, U.S. ARMY
UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee, it is an honor and privilege to report to you on the state of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Today’s United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) are the most capable in the world. They have performed magnificently on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in their support of Geographic Combatant Commander activities around the world.
The Secretary of Defense expanded USSOCOM’s role in 2003 to include leading the Department of Defenses’ (DOD) Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) planning effort, and commanding specifically designated GWOT operations. In this role as the lead command for the GWOT, USSOCOM has matured into a warfighting command that is leading the planning and synchronization of DOD activities in support of the GWOT. Today at SOCOM, our priorities are the GWOT, the readiness of our forces, and building SOF’s future capabilities to be even more capable to meet the demands of the changing strategic environment.
Strategic Environment. Terrorist networks are globally dispersed and compartmentalized into remote, smaller networks or groups that limit direct access to their leadership, communications, and infrastructure. They recognize no borders and no boundaries, use the local populace for plain-sight concealment, and employ terror, torture, and indiscriminate killing as standard tactics, techniques and procedures. Without respect for international law, they adapt their methods and conduct operations that incorporate technology across the spectrum from low tech to high tech. This creates a significant challenge for USSOCOM and directs the Command along three lines. First, as the supported Commander, USSOCOM must synchronize DOD efforts, coordinate and collaborate in interdepartmental and interagency efforts, facilitate the flow of information and intelligence, and foster cooperation with partner nations to shape the Global War on Terrorism. This will require the elimination of seams and sanctuaries. Second, USSOCOM must focus SOF on the GWOT by increasing emphasis on organizing, training, and equipping the force to accomplish our main effort of attacking terrorist networks and enabling partner nations to do so in concert with us. We will provide assistance to other government agencies in our effort to persuade or coerce nation states that support terrorist networks, diminish the underlying conditions that cause terrorism, and counter core motivations that result in terrorist networks. Finally, we must continue to flawlessly integrate with conventional forces in traditional warfare.
USSOCOM Center for Special Operations (CSO). When USSOCOM was established by the Congress in 1987, its primary role was to support the geographic combatant commanders by providing them with trained and equipped special operations personnel. Now USSOCOM’s focus has been rebalanced to emphasize the GWOT – we are at war. The Center for Special Operations, a directorate within USSOCOM headquarters, was created to optimize SOCOM’s warfighting efforts, by breaking down traditional barriers that exist between plans, operations and intelligence functions. By consolidating these efforts under a single director, USSOCOM has improved its speed, agility and flexibility—keys to success in today’s global environment. The CSO has embedded interagency liaison teams that streamline interagency coordination, communication and processes, further enhancing operations, intelligence and planning fusion. The CSO is in effect USSOCOM’s Joint Interagency Coordination Group (JIACG). Responsibilities in the CSO include reviewing global strategies, developing courses of action, and formulating plans and recommendations for operational force employment by the Commander, USSOCOM.
A dynamic component of the CSO is our Special Operations Joint Interagency Collaboration Center (SOJICC). A state of the art facility fusing operations and intelligence, the SOJICC integrates DOD and interagency information and databases to exploit the full potential of this information to support special operations planning and course of action development. SOJICC was developed in response to operational priorities and has been used extensively in supporting unique special operations requirements in OEF and OIF and developing short turn-around products in support of SOF in all of the combatant commands.
Global War on Terrorism
Success in Operations. USSOCOM’s number one priority is the Global War on Terrorism. Defeating the terrorist threat requires the full range of Special Operations capabilities. USSOCOM’s special operators, carefully selected, highly trained and well equipped, continue to be “the worst nightmare of America’s worst enemies” as President Bush stated in June, 2004. Employing the tactics, techniques and procedures most appropriate to a given situation, our forces act across the spectrum of operations from Civil Affairs (CA) to Unconventional Warfare (UW) to Direct Action (DA).
Our interagency, conventional, and coalition relationships have never been stronger than in today’s global operations. This joint, coalition, interagency team has brought freedom to millions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, plenty of work remains to defeat the insurgents who continue a violent struggle against democracy. SOF, deployed in support of the Geographic Combatant Commanders, have been involved in every phase of this global effort. As we transition to the post-election environment in both Afghanistan and Iraq, joint, combined, and interagency efforts will be more critical than ever to win the peace, as we continue on the path to a more stable and secure world.
Iraq. SOF operations, in support of United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), remain focused on defeating Anti-Coalition Militia elements and denying them freedom of movement and action throughout Central and Northern IRAQ. SOF have been very successful at finding, fixing, and finishing the enemy and one of the keys to our success has been the ability to fuse intelligence with operations resulting in actions that not only capture or kill the enemy, but also generate additional information for further operations.
In close coordination with Iraqi and Coalition forces, U.S. SOF played a critical role in virtually every major operation in Iraq during 2004, particularly the defeat of the insurgent offensives in April and August, the liberation of Fallujah in November, and coalition victories in Najaf, Samarra, and Ramadi. In these and other operations, SOF conducted numerous offensive actions resulting in a significant number of detainees. We follow standard operating procedures in transferring detainees to designated personnel for interrogation and processing. In addition to their combat effectiveness, SOF personnel have shown extraordinary maturity, cultural awareness, and good judgment. SOF, in coordination with conventional forces, continue to execute an aggressive offensive strategy against terrorists, but do so in a way to minimize the negative impact on Iraqi citizens.
A very visible and successful Special Operation Foreign Internal Defense mission has been our work with Iraqi security forces. Trained by Green Berets, the 36th Commando Battalion and the Iraqi Counterterrorism Battalion are now capable of providing on-going security against insurgents. I have visited both units. They have fought valiantly in such difficult cities as Fallujah, Najaf, and Samarra alongside U.S. Special Forces. They are good, and are getting better.
Applying lessons learned from earlier successes against the Taliban in Afghanistan, SOF ground forces in Iraq have worked closely with conventional airpower to eliminate insurgents and other terrorists. SOF aviation has also been highly effective, destroying a large number of enemy targets while minimizing collateral damage and providing rapid responses to time-sensitive information. SOF have rescued hostages and assisted local law enforcement agencies in capturing terrorists who murdered western hostages. In the waters of the Persian Gulf, SOF have conducted maritime interdiction operations to disrupt terrorist movement and operations. SOF are committed to helping the Iraqis, in support of USCENTCOM’s implementation of the strategy of the United States, to establish a secure and peaceful future. SOF have played major roles alongside their conventional and coalition partners in supporting the road to Iraqi self-government and lasting security. Although much work remains, the very successful recent election is a striking example of the success of our efforts in GWOT. The commander of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, GEN George W. Casey, Jr, described SOF achievements in Iraq as “Herculean.”
Afghanistan. Special Operations Forces continue to make vital contributions to the war on terrorism as well as stability operations. Major strategic events enabled by SOF include Afghanistan’s first ever national election in October and the December inauguration of its first elected President. SOF operations focused on supporting these two historic events and were critical to these strategic victories. In precisely targeted offensive operations, SOF killed and captured hundreds of terrorists and insurgents. These operations have been crucial to securing cities near the critical area along the border with Pakistan and in former Taliban strongholds. SOF manned dozens of small camps in areas frequented by insurgents and terrorists, inhibiting enemy operations and enhancing the security of the Afghan population. The enemy has repeatedly attacked these small camps, but SOF, conventional, and coalition forces have defeated all enemy offensives and inflicted heavy enemy casualties.
Throughout Afghanistan, SOF conducted Unconventional Warfare (UW). A SOF core task, UW, as carefully configured, includes operations conducted by, through, and with local forces. The Services use the term Unconventional Warfare frequently; however accomplishing missions in a new or unconventional manner is not the same as UW. UW is a capability unique to SOF and will continue to be an important skill in future operations.
As in Iraq, major coalition goals included building up Afghan forces and having those forces conduct effective military operations, thereby increasing the legitimacy and popular support of the government. SOF emphasized combined operations, with the Afghan National Army taking the lead role throughout the country to accomplish these goals.
Coalition forces, including SOF, assist in the counternarcotics effort in Afghanistan by reporting, confiscating, or destroying drugs and drug equipment encountered in the course of normal operations, sharing intelligence, and training Afghan security forces in these efforts. The adverse effect of the narcotics problem on Afghanistan’s security, stability and society is significant and requires a multi-faceted and long-term effort. The Afghan government, aided by the international community, must work to create viable economic alternatives for growers and manufacturers.
Other Regions of the World. In addition to supporting the Commander, USCENTCOM, SOF prosecuted GWOT missions around the globe. In support of Commander, United States European Command (USEUCOM), US SOF joined our NATO SOF allies to form a Response Force in support of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, a high value potential target for international terrorists. This response force was fully integrated into the Olympic Games’ security task force and helped ensure that terrorists did not disrupt the Games.
SOF also worked with security forces from several African nations to enhance their counter-terrorist capabilities, conducting two-month training periods with indigenous forces focused on logistics, communications, and weapons skills. The effort was designed to eliminate sparsely-populated border regions as potential terrorist safe-havens before terrorists arrived in force. In the Balkans, Civil Affairs (CA), Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and other special operations units supported operations in Bosnia, bolstering civil institutions to help maintain peace in that country.
In addition to short-term operations, SOF long-term activities help develop the strategic environment by contributing directly to deterrence efforts. U.S. SOF participated in over fifty Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET) events globally with host-nation forces. In the Pacific theater, SOF supported the Commander, United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) by providing assistance to allied nations seeking to stem narcoterrorism, as well as remove mines laid during four decades of regional conflicts. SOF continues to support Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P), and during 2004, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) deployed teams to provide operational planning and special skills training to Filipino Armed Forces personnel. U. S. SOF worked with Filipino military forces and other units throughout the country to prevent the disruption of national elections. Meanwhile, U.S. Navy SOF personnel worked with their counterparts to conduct expanded maritime interdiction operations around the archipelago. Psychological Operations soldiers sought to garner support of the local population.
The earthquake and tsunami of December 2004 brought horrific destruction around the rim of the Indian Ocean, and SOF, in support of USPACOM, responded immediately to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by this devastating natural disaster. Through the use of specialized skills and equipment, SOF supported the U.S. and international relief efforts. SOF Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors provided their expertise in diverse areas such as airfield management, airlift, delivering and distributing medical care and supplies in conjunction with U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and civilian organizations.
In South America, SOF efforts support the Commander, United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) through operations helping the government of Colombia in its fight against terrorists, narcotics trafficking groups, and insurgents. SOF support included counter-narcoterrorist training deployments, training assistance to Colombian SOF, help with establishing a special operations command and control (C2) organization, long-standing Civil Affairs and PSYOP activities and assistance fusing intelligence with operational planning. U.S. SOF also helped with the search for American citizens held hostage by terrorists. By the end of 2004, the Colombian military and police forces had made notable progress in the fight against narcoterrorists.
Force readiness is a SOF priority and is crucial to mission success. USSOCOM’s number one Readiness issue is our people, followed closely by our equipment and training.
People. USSOCOM, while scheduled to grow in Fiscal Year 2005, remains less than 2 percent of our Nation’s military force. Our operators are high-caliber professionals with intelligence, stamina, problem-solving skills, mental toughness, flexibility, determination, integrity, and extraordinary strength of character and will. Additionally, they are experts with their weapons, and many are language trained. Our small number of carefully selected, incredibly dedicated, capable, mature, well-trained, and well-led people are key to our quality force. However, we must have the total force—the correct mix of Active, Reserve, and National Guard personnel to meet the challenge. Last year I reported that Special Operations Forces were deployed globally at the highest sustained operations tempo in their history. That is still true today, with over 6100 Special Operators supporting the Geographic Combatant Commanders.
To accomplish SOF missions, highly specialized skill sets are required, including cultural and regional awareness and expertise, and skill in employing both low and high-tech equipment and solutions. To achieve the required level of proficiency and guarantee SOF relevance, recruitment, training, accession and retention, development of the force must be closely managed. With the support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Congress, USSOCOM was able to secure a comprehensive USSOCOM retention package aimed at specific SOF operational specialists throughout their careers.
I believe our current operations tempo is manageable, but stressed in certain critical specialties—namely our SEALS, Special Forces, AFSOC Combat Controllers, Pararescuemen and Special Operations Weather personnel. Civil Affairs and PSYOP forces will be discussed shortly. USSOCOM began our growth by investing in our schoolhouses through additional instructors to increase throughput for creating Special Operators while maintaining our standards. Coupled with retaining experienced SOF personnel, this will improve our capability to meet the demand on our force.
However, adding SOF is not a near term fix, as SOF cannot be mass-produced, nor created after emergencies occur. Our recruiting is good, and our schools are full, but because of our rigorous selection and training process for SOF operators, it takes between 12 and 24 months, depending on specialty, to graduate an initially-qualified SOF operator. By the end of Fiscal Year 2006, USSOCOM will grow by 1,405 members to an end-strength of 52,846. We are adding personnel to our active duty SEAL teams, increasing active Special Forces Group strength, and adding personnel at the 16th Special Operations Wing to support forward deployed and rotational requirements. We have also added one MH-47 aviation battalion based on the west coast and oriented towards the Pacific. With great support from the Secretary of Defense, we have significantly increased the authorized manning levels of SOF over the past two years, but areas of concern remain our PSYOP and Civil Affairs forces.
Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations. Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations were essential in facilitating the elections in both Afghanistan and Iraq and will continue to play critical roles in the stabilization and reconstruction of both countries. CA and PSYOP also had a vital role in combat operations and consolidation activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether encouraging enemy fighters to surrender, directing civilians away from battle zones, or separating terrorists from their base of support, tactical PSYOP multiplied the effectiveness of combat operations and saved many lives.
Dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in support of U.S. policy and national objectives is a vital part of SOF’s effort to secure peace. Culturally oriented psychological operations units with selected language skills are supporting commanders and other U.S. government agencies in operations ranging from humanitarian assistance to weapons collection. PSYOP forces have an aggressive program of providing handbills to children explaining the threat of unexploded ordinance and minefields. Additionally, through leaflets and broadcasts, PSYOP forces disseminate information to raise awareness about the Rewards for Justice Program. SOF then facilitate linking individuals possessing information with the appropriate agencies. PSYOP forces use nonviolent means in often violent environments to convince adversary, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favorable to the U.S. and its allies. These forces, along with SOF Civil Affairs units, are force multipliers. Three quarters of our PSYOP personnel are in our Reserve Component.
Civil Affairs forces are key to our long-term success in the GWOT. Civil Affairs specialists can quickly and systematically identify critical infrastructure requirements needed by local citizens. They can also locate civil resources to support military operations, help minimize civilian interference with operations, support national assistance activities, and establish and maintain liaison dialogue with civilian aid agencies, commercial and private organizations. Civil Affairs forces are currently working with local governments of Iraq and Afghanistan and international humanitarian organizations to rebuild infrastructure and restore stability. They facilitate, plan, and coordinate repairing wells, providing food to hungry children, bringing medical care to families, and are hard at work helping rebuild school systems to counter radical thought through education. CA forces become advocates for their plans to synchronize indigenous populations and aggressively seek funding for regional projects. Over 90 percent of our CA personnel are in our reserve component.
This level of effort, however, doesn’t come without a price. While we believe people are more important than hardware and closely monitor our deployment schedules, Army Reserve CA and PSYOP units have been mobilized for up to 24 months under the partial mobilization authority. This in turn has made us more reliant on the few active duty CA and PSYOP units to meet operational requirements. Future rotations for OIF/OEF will be constrained by the number of personnel in these specialties available. To improve these areas we have added four PSYOP companies (Reserve), two PSYOP companies (Active), two Civil Affairs battalions (Reserve), and two Civil Affairs companies (Active). While the use of Provisional Battalions created for the war effort is a concept we are exploring, compressed Civil Affairs specialty training is not the best solution to this problem. We owe it to the Geographic Combatant Commanders to send fully qualified CA and PSYOP personnel to the battlefield.
Building Future Special Operations Forces
The Command’s main goal for the future is to identify and develop the capabilities Special Operations Forces will need to remain the decisive piece of a joint, coalition, and interagency team while maintaining the readiness required to shape and respond to the world today. USSOCOM is committed to producing next generation SOF capabilities that will provide competitive advantages over future adversaries. Future SOF will be positioned to respond rapidly to time sensitive targets in the GWOT, provide strategic responsiveness as an early entry force, possess state of the art Battlefield Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) and continue to increase cultural, regional and linguistic expertise. SOF must construct systems and capabilities to have access around the world to locations of our choosing and have dominant C4ISR.
Long-term success in the Global War on Terrorism depends largely upon our ability to rapidly employ a sustainable mix of capabilities with little warning--requiring agile, adaptive, and responsive warriors. We are transforming our force quickly to provide better on-the-ground capability to operate in the different “gray areas” around the world where conventional forces are traditionally uncomfortable. This will require a change in our thinking, not just our force structure. We continue to transform our Headquarters to incorporate these changes. Our organization includes a standing Joint Task Force (JTF), capable of providing a spectrum of command and control options from providing a handful of liaison officers to an existing JTF to deploying a complete JTF. Moreover, USSOCOM is organized for interagency transparency, a key element for success.
USSOCOM is pursuing a holistic approach to our training, doctrine, organizational structure and technology. We will blend the authorities, functions, and activities of a supported combatant command with our current Service-like authorities, functions, and activities necessary to develop, maintain, and enhance integrated joint SOF forces and capabilities. USSOCOM will cut across current national, regional, and geographic boundaries by networking key counterterrorism and counterinsurgency command and control nodes to create a Global Counter Terrorist Network (GCTN) employing a tailored mix of assigned, attached, and supporting joint forces and capabilities.
Budget and Acquisition. The USSOCOM Fiscal Year 2006 President’s Budget request is $6.7 billion, 3 percent more than the Fiscal Year 2005 appropriated amounts. This request includes military pay and allowances to ensure that now, and in the future, the President, the Secretary of Defense, USSOCOM, the Combatant Commanders, and Country Teams have SOF capable of defeating terrorist organizations worldwide. Our Operations and Maintenance budget request grows $85 million, to $2.2 billion, which also includes a $22 million increase for training, as well as funds associated with sustaining SOF-specific weapons systems. Quick action on SOCOM’s FY05 Supplemental Request is the issue on which I need immediate support.
At the heart of USSOCOM’s strength is the Commander’s acquisition authority, which is similar to that of the Military Departments. It is one of the things that makes USSOCOM special and makes our operators more capable and effective, more quickly. Among the responsibilities assigned to USSOCOM under Title 10, Section 167, is developing and acquiring “special operations-peculiar” equipment. SOF-peculiar equipment is based on technologies that enable our operators to become faster, stealthier, more precise, lethal, survivable, and sustainable. It will also enable PSYOPS forces to broadcast themes into denied areas, and provide Civil Affairs specialists with SOF specific training and communications equipment. With exceptional support from Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Services, and our industry partners, these authorities have been instrumental in equipping today’s world-class SOF team to perform a broad range of SOF missions. We are aggressively eliminating those systems that do not support the GWOT and directing those resources for more appropriate programs. Our Flagship Programs, the Advanced Seal Delivery System (ASDS) and the CV-22 Osprey continue to be a very important part of SOF’s future. We will add, in the near future, two new flagship programs, our SOF Warrior Systems and our SOF training centers.
Our Research and Development (R&D) activities are focusing on discovering and exploiting technologies in the following areas:
Intelligence. USSOCOM’s primary concern remains actionable tactical intelligence. The “find” piece of find, fix and finish is an intelligence based problem set. In other words, we have to find out who the bad guys are, where they are, and have the right forces in the right place at the right time to capture them. USSOCOM is working to harness capabilities, like signals intelligence (SIGINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT) and unattended sensors that channel the proper intelligence information to our analysts and operators so we can capture terrorists regardless of where they are on the globe. This persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) concept is a combination of continuous analysis, human intelligence (HUMINT), and SOF focused ISR systems that will dwell on a target for as long as the mission requires—the unblinking eye. We have made progress aggressively pursuing UAVs, persistent intelligence systems and denied area access technology. We must continue to improve these capabilities, especially our ability to find and track targets in all weather conditions. USSOCOM’s number one technological shortfall is in our ability to persistently and remotely locate, track and target a human.
A global network. SOF-led collaboration and synchronization across command lines will play a dramatically larger role. USSOCOM will use the Global Counter-Terrorism Network to position SOF around the world, in synchronized, simultaneous, and custom-tailored operations against designated terrorist organizations, their allies and sponsors. The GCTN will synchronize global ISR to gain persistent close-in visibility, coordinate interagency and capable partner nation efforts, and integrate command and control. These operations will be coordinated by USSOCOM and Geographic Combatant Commanders through their Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs), which will serve as the focal points for joint SOF missions conducted within their regions. Key to this effort will be high bandwidth and reachback communications.
Additionally, SOF must facilitate the development of indigenous capabilities to fight against terrorists and rogue regimes. Robust Unconventional Warfare capabilities greatly expand the set of options available to policy makers. SOF must also maintain and improve capabilities to support conventional forces. The concept of a GCTN is designed to position SOF in key locations to collect, fuse, analyze and disseminate intelligence. Developing greater situational awareness in priority countries and regions will enhance SOF effectiveness in combating terrorist networks.
Develop the Special Operations Warrior. SOF can anticipate continued global employment in the near future. They will have to operate simultaneously in more than one Geographic Combatant Commander’s area of responsibility against elements of the same global enemy to eliminate seams and be responsive. For SOF the challenge is immense: how to train for the enormous and demanding range of functional skills necessary to meet USSOCOM’s core tasks while adapting intellectually to the global demands of this war against an enemy who holds no territory. USSOCOM will meet these requirements through continued adaptation and growth of our education and training capabilities, to include advanced training systems. Additionally, in a globally networked operating environment, SOF must be survivable, sustainable, lethal, maneuverable, and possess superior situational awareness. These are SOCOM’s R & D focus areas to support the SOF warrior.
The struggle against global terrorism is different from any other war in our history. We will not triumph solely or even primarily through military might. We must fight terrorist networks and their supporters using every instrument of national power of the United States. Progress will come through the persistent accumulation of successes--some seen, some unseen. Our goal will be reached when Americans and other civilized people around the world can lead their lives free of fear from terrorist attacks.
SOF will continue to play a lead role in this war by bringing terrorists, their supporters and their state facilitators to justice, or by bringing justice to them. But winning this war will require new capabilities, sustainable increases in capacity, and significant improvements in the global reach and speed of SOF forces. To meet the demands of the new environment, we must ensure that our capabilities are well-tuned to meet emerging needs. U.S. special operators have been the cornerstone of our military operations since the beginning of the GWOT. From Tampa to Tikrit to Toibalawe all of USSOCOM is in high gear, a tempo we expect to maintain for a long time.
Our efforts will remain focused on our mission. Our success will come from the finest trained and prepared warriors in the world who are in the right place at the right time against the right adversary. Special operations forces play a key role in America's and the world’s defeat of terrorism. In an environment of asymmetric threats, we are this Nation's asymmetric force. With energy, focus, skill and determination, we will take the fight to the enemy and win. Your continued support of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and DOD civilians is the foundation of our success.