By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 – The commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command yesterday lauded a new command structure that aligns various NATO and U.S. special operations forces elements under two-star headquarters.
In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee’s emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee, Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said the new structure supports the defense strategic guidance, which outlines efforts to build partnership capacity.
“Socom is working to strengthen these international partnerships and to build lasting networks, both formally and informally, so that we or our allies can create a secure environment in unstable areas and, if necessary, react to emerging crises rapidly and effectively,” McRaven said.
U.S. special operations forces are in about 78 countries around the world, helping to build partner capacity so that the host nation can tackle its own security problems, the admiral said.
“We have continued [to] trick enemy leadership, while at the same time building and training Afghan security forces so they can stand on their own against this very determined threat,” he said.
McRaven recalled recent visits to Colombia and the Philippines, where he said the long-term U.S. investment with those nations’ special operations forces has helped to change the security situation dramatically.
“Building allied [special operations forces] capacity and capability represents the best approach to dealing with some of the world's more complex security problems,” he said. “In all cases, those special operations forces deployed to foreign lands are working for the geographic combatant commander, with the approval of the chief of the mission and always in support of U.S. policy goals.”