Special Operations Eyes Present
Special Operations Eyes
Present, Future Threats
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. – (DoD
News) – January 28, 2015 – Special operations forces are very busy today,
but they must also plan to confront future threats, Michael J. Dumont, the
principle deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity
conflict said here yesterday.
Dumont spoke during the National Defense Industrial
Association’s Special Operations/Low-intensity Conflict Symposium here.
There is no shortage of threats, the deputy assistant
secretary said. Special operations personnel are confronting the Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant terror group in Iraq and are planning to train Syrian
moderate forces opposed to ISIL, he said.
An Array of Threats
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and further incursions into
Ukraine are also issues for special operators and they are working with NATO
allies and partner nations in Eastern and Central Europe to counter the Russian
provocations, Dumont said.
Boko Haram in Nigeria, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, al
Shabob in Somalia, transnational crime syndicates in Central America -- all of
these are threats to the United States and its allies, he said. And, all are
threats, he added, that special operators must understand and deal with.
Long after these specific threats fade, special operators
will still be involved in counterterrorism and counternarcotics operations,
peacekeeping and stability operations, Dumont said. Special operations must also
understand how to operate in the cyber environment. Dumont called this last “a
complex issue, but one that is emerging as we’ve seen in recent [cyber] attacks.”
Vital Component of U.S. Military
Dumont’s office in the Pentagon oversees policy decisions and
the budget for special operations forces to ensure they have what they need
today and tomorrow. Special operations, he said, is recognized as a vital
component of the U.S. military.
“Despite the austere [budget] environment that exists, the
administration and Congress have demonstrated a clear commitment to the SOF
community,” he said. “I think you will see that evidence in the SOF budget for
the current fiscal year.”
But long-term problems require long-term strategic thinking
and resourcing decisions, Dumont said. And the world is not going to get less
complex. “What this does is show us that we need to work together -- as an
industry, as defense establishment, as a government -- for solutions to complex
problems ranging from countering violent extremism to stopping money laundering
that fuel terror organizations and the like,” he said.
This is more than listing the data points and understanding
ambiguity, he said. “We also need to open up the aperture and get perspectives
from a range of sources -- sources we’ve never considered before, maybe even
sources we don’t particularly care for,” Dumont said.
“To make big decisions, we need a big view -- a holistic view,”
he said. “In our work, the ability to decide also requires speed joined by
And, the special operations community must invest in people
and the capabilities they require for success, Dumont said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews)
Michael J. Dumont
U.S. Special Operations Command
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