Special Operations Uniquely Suited to Fight Terrorists
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 1, 2005 Special operations forces are deployed worldwide "in the right place at the right time" in the fight against global terrorism, the Defense Department's top special operations officer told a Senate panel today.
And whether they are performing civil affairs, reconnaissance, unconventional warfare or direct-action missions, special operations forces are "uniquely suited" for today's low-intensity conflicts, Army Gen. Bryan D. Brown, who heads U.S. Special Operations Command, said before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In addition to fighting "hot" battles against terrorists, Brown explained, special operations warrior-diplomats also are "working closely with countries worldwide to build long-term, positive relationships with host nations and undermine those that are determined to spread the seeds of terrorism."
The special operations operating tempo remains red hot, Brown observed, with more than 6,100 special operators deployed worldwide to support geographic combatant commanders.
Brown tipped his four-starred hat to "our great Reserve and National Guard forces," noting, "they're extremely important to our capability."
Today's special operations deployments are focused "on key areas that have an impact on the global war on terrorism," Brown observed, as special operators train with host nations and "remain poised to react for emerging threats."
The measure of his organization's success, the general said, is not predicated on the number of countries special operators are deployed in, but rather "to have special operating forces deployed in the right place at the right time."
Recruiting for special operations' jobs continues to be good, Brown reported, noting the organization's schoolhouses "are full."
Yet, "because of our rigorous selection and training process," Brown reminded committee members, it takes between 12 to 24 months to train a fully qualified special operations troop, depending on the specialty.
Brown expressed pride in the quality of his special forces, noting, "We cannot dilute the high standards of our people; that is the bedrock of our capability."