In a move to thwart anti-Trump elements within the Pentagon, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, who reports directly to the president, says Special Operations Command (SOCOM) will now report directly to him.
SOCOM oversees the differing spec-op forces of the various military branches when they need to work together for a joint operation.
Keep in mind that President Trump appointed Miller only last week to replace Mark Esper, who collided with the president over his recent decision to pull out of Afghanistan – and, interestingly, Miller’s background is in counterterrorism.
“I am here today to announce that I have directed the special operations civilian leadership to report directly to me instead of through the current bureaucratic channels,” Miller said during an unannounced visit to Fort Bragg, N.C., on Wednesday. “This historic step finalizes what Congress has authorized and directed and will put Special Operations Command on par with the military services for the first time.”
“I am here today to announce that I have directed the Special Operations civilian leadership to report directly to me, instead of through the current bureaucratic channels.” A/SD Chris Miller pic.twitter.com/GOPtWsEcR9
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) November 18, 2020
By putting Special Operations Command only two steps away from the president, it prevents anti-Trump Pentagon officials from muddying the chain of command to block the president, especially when it comes to troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Today, the Department of Defense has started the process of formalizing what we have long known the fundamental role of U.S. special operations in defense and foreign policy by elevating special operations forces to a level on par with military departments, as authorized and directed by Congress,” said the current civilian leader for special operations, Ezra Cohen-Watnick.
Notably, Cohen-Watnick is also the acting Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.
“As we enact these reforms, we follow the vision of President John F. Kennedy, who predicted the rise of special operations nearly 60 years ago,” he added.
The news, which normally would have gone unnoticed, made waves on social media given current events.
Some netizens said the move, combined with Miller’s background, may also fall in line with Trump’s 2018 executive order which created a command structure for monitoring and exposing election fraud and foreign interference.
According to the E.O., the Secretary of Defense, along with other cabinet members, is tasked with reporting to the president “the extent to which any foreign interference that targeted election infrastructure materially affected the security or integrity of that infrastructure, the tabulation of votes, or the timely transmission of election results.”
There’s also been chatter over the past few years that several spec-op branches were being overused or used beyond their intended scope, which likely also factored into Miller’s decision.
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