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Special Ops Symposium Looks at Future of Coalition Warfare

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2005 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA director Porter J. Goss are working to make sure President Bush has a full range of options for dealing with terror threats, a top DoD official said today.

This includes covert and clandestine operations, said Thomas W. O'Connell, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. He also said studies are under way to determine whether all of the CIA's paramilitary activities should fall under DoD's jurisdiction.

O'Connell delivered the keynote address during the 16th Annual National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict Symposium and Exhibition here. He focused on special operations forces' role in the coalition's global war on terrorism.

"The president and a truly historic coalition of more than 90 nations have sought to confront a new and perhaps even more dangerous enemy," O'Connell noted.

Special operations forces will help to meet the capabilities required of the Defense Department as part of that coalition, he said. Special operations forces are charged with disrupting, defeating and destroying terrorist networks that threaten the United States and its citizens, according to the U.S. Special Operations Command mission statement.

These capabilities must be used in concert with the capabilities of coalition partners as well as other, nonmilitary stabilization capabilities of the U.S. government and the civilian world, said Jeffrey Nadaner, O'Connell's deputy. "We're trying to place stabilization operations on comparable footing with combat operations."

This would mean, he explained, that these types of operations would be considered in all phases of the planning of an operation. "We're making progress. We're moving forward," O'Connell said. "We're putting together execute orders that will help U.S. Special Operations Command orchestrate its war on terrorism."

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Assistant Secretary Thomas W. O'Connell

Related Sites:
DoD Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
National Defense Industrial Association

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