In our last blog, we pointed out that the United States is involved in some kind of military operation today in 134 countries. The great majority of these operations were conducted by U.S. Special Forces. That means in all the world of 194 official nations the United States is conducting military operations in all but 61 of them. An even more staggering number is 662, that’s the number of bases of operation or facilities we have in those 134 countries. No other country in the history of the world has extended its military ambitions that far, not even close. Not the Soviet Union, China or even England in the glory days of the British Empire. All of these operations are undertaken to “Protect American interests.” Those interests, however, are rarely made clear and only a small percentage of them have anything to do with Terrorism prevention or retribution. You might want to check out this Department of Defense (DOD) document outlining some of the Special Ops missions from 1982 to 2012.
As stated in my last blog, the military industrial complex needs war or the threat of war to enable its growth. If they sat around waiting for our military to rust, it would take a long time and their profits would dwindle. The effort then by both the U.S. Military and the Defense industry has been secretive and successful. It is difficult to promote a major war and yet appear to be neutral. That’s almost impossible but preparing for little wars and lots of them, has a more strategic appeal. Thus the emphasis on special operations forces or “Special Ops. http://prhome.defense.gov/Portals/52/Documents/RFM/MPP/OEPM/Docs/Approved%20JMUAs%20-%20Updated%2031%20Dec%202012.pdf
Some time ago we as a nation made the determination that we not only had to stop terrorism we must also fight those situations that can cause terroristic events like human rights abuses, dictatorial expansionism and the manufacture and use of weapons of mass destruction. After the twin towers attack of 9-ll the commitment was greatly enhanced and emphasized. A benefit of these Special Ops missions is that we can fight them with near secrecy, with little loss of American life and in the meantime use up military resources so they have to be replaced. That’s why there has been a dramatic increase in such missions. We hear only of those that help to increase budgeting like the Special Ops group that took down Osama Bin Laden.
If you are wondering about the groups that make up U.S. Special Ops forces, here’s the list:
Army Green Berets, Army Night Stalkers, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Marine MARSOC & Recon, and Air Force Special Tactics (Delta Force is not included in this list because up until 2012 the DOD didn’t even admit they existed. Since then admission has come but the name has changed. Delta Force has recently been renamed the Combat Applications Group (CAG) and is now officially known as Army Compartmented Elements (ACE).)
To be fair, some of these operations are minor, like unmanned electronic eavesdropping stations where U.S. personnel fly in for regularly scheduled or emergency maintenance but most of them are far more sophisticated. Here are just some of the countries in which you will find a significant American Military Presence’ Aruba, Chad, Uganda, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Albania, Romania, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Belize, Uruguay, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Norway and Peru. And then there is Kyrgyzstan. It does not qualify as an official U.S. Base yet it is considered to be the most important U.S. facility in central Asia, staging every U.S. soldier transiting in and out of Afghanistan and conducting refueling operations.”
U.S. Special Ops forces are highly trained, highly experienced, and highly skilled people. Reports indicate that the average team member has likely been deployed overseas four to 10 times. The officers are generally approaching their mid-thirties; the enlisted men, their late twenties. Almost all are career people. They’ve had much more training in military and self-defense strategy and tactics that the average soldier, sailor or Marine. They are regularly involved in day to day shadowy missions that are sometimes combative, often training missions and most often a combination of the two. They’re likely to be married with a couple of kids. Odds are, if you throw a dart at a world map or stop a spinning globe with your index finger and don’t hit water, they’ve been there sometime in 2016 or 17. Most of what they do never make the news because those missions are secret and quiet.
Every day the most elite troops America can deploy are involved in missions in 80 to 90 nations. Some of them are minor but many, if not most are serious shooting situations. These troops, whether Seals, Rangers or Green Berets are involved in night raids, sniping, where they are actually gunning down enemies from a distant perch, or extractions of key personnel from danger areas. According to The Nation, U.S. Special Ops troops have now been involved in more such missions as were undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. https://www.thenation.com/article/how-many-wars-is-the-us-really-fighting/.
This situation cannot be laid at the feet of any particular American President because all of them, dating back to the JFK administration have contributed to the Special Ops growth. It began in earnest with Kennedy who saw to the founding of the Navy Seals. Since then Special Ops has grown to the point where they have become our first line of defense. Special Operations Command’s funding has almost quintupled from around $3 billion in 2001 to nearly $15 billion in 2017 according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO). This does not include funding from a number of service branches, which SOCOM estimates at around another $8 billion annually.
“GAO found that DOD [Department of Defense] has little visibility over total funding to support SOF primarily because it has not established a requirement or methodology to capture and report this information,” the GAO stated, warning that until DoD has “more complete information on total funding to support SOF, decision makers will be unable to effectively identify and assess resource needs or weigh priorities and assess budget trade-offs.”
SOCOM almost tripled its personnel from about 33,000 in 2001 to nearly 90,000 at present, you don’t increase budgets and troops to the extent we’ve seen unless you need to do so and intend to use the added personnel more often in more places. And – here’s an acronym to watch for, JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). They are behind almost every operation we conduct. JSOC is made up of personnel from each service branch, including SEALs, Air Force special tactics airmen, and the Army’s super-secret Delta Force that “specializes in tracking and killing suspected terrorists.”
It’s up to you, the reader, to determine if the U.S. expansion of and dependence on the military is necessary. It is a given that the world is a far more dangerous place than it was when the Soviet Union still existed. There are more nuclear nations, more “hot spots” and more threats to the security of the United States. At the same time, one must ask this question, “Do we really need to be the world’s policeman?”
With all of our investment in the military we are not only protecting ourselves, but as the world’s policeman, we are protecting a good many other nations as well. The result of that protection is that we spend our finite financial resources on defense and other nations don’t have to do that. They, then, can use their money on education, infrastructure, environment, job creation and, well, the list is endless.
We must defend ourselves, no one objects to that but where’s the line between defense and offense? Are we defending ourselves or attempting to control other nations? It’s a thin, line that is constantly in motion and our politicians seem to think that it is better we spend too much. That doesn’t seem likely to change, unless you the people, cause that change to happen.
And from where I sit, that’s the truth.