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SOCOM Transforming to Lead Global War on Terrorism

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2006 – U.S. Special Operations Command is transforming to meet changing needs as it leads the fight in the global war on terrorism, the command's leader said here today.

The threat the United States faces today has no borders or boundaries, Army Gen. Bryan D. Brown, SOCOM's commander, told the audience at the 17th Annual National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations/Low-intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition.

"(The command) is transforming, concentrating on quickly growing the right capabilities for the war on terrorism," Brown said. "We reorganized our training to produce more (special operations forces) warriors and to give them the right skills for what they're going to be doing."

SOCOM has created new units and expanded those of increasing importance, he said. The command also has created the Center for Special Operations, which Brown called a model for joint intelligence and operations. "We've requested new authorities," he said. "We recognize the need to transform, and we have."

This is all being accomplished while maintaining the standards that set special operations apart from other forces, he said. The training reorganization has allowed the command to get more than 7,000 special operations forces involved in fighting the war on terrorism, Brown said. That's nearly one-third of all special operations forces.

"Since 9/11, (the command) has been busy," he said. "They are conducting more operations in a week than their pre-9/11 counterparts may have done in a career."

While special operations forces are in the thick of the fight, they're doing more than just conducting military operations, Brown said. They're successfully building local infrastructure and relationships, a result of their cultural and language training, he added. "They'll train local forces to defend themselves, to fight the enemy on their terms," Brown said.

Brown noted that while special operations forces are better equipped than ever before, time doesn't stand still. Future special operations forces will require new equipment that's reliable, durable, interoperable, multifunctional and lightweight, the general said.

Brown said that while the challenge is to continually improve capabilities, the basics of counterterrorism will remain the same -- presence, patience and persistence.

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