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July 12, 2012

Lions Lead By Lambs: Washington’s Special Operations Power Grab

Occasionally I’ll read something that will just make me pause and say “WTF, over”. Today was one of those days, thanks to Linda Robinson and her weak Congressional testimony.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Special Operations is the new conventional force in the 21st Century. The entire DOD organization has shifted towards a Special Operations centric model.

This brings both good, bad and ugly to US SOCOM.

  • The Good: increased funding and special programs.
  • The Bad: political piggy backing on the community and installing “oversight” committees that put too much weight on the branches of the Spec Ops decision tree.
  • The Ugly: ugly career politicians jockeying for power

Washington’s Special Operations power grab is no surprise to me. The ugly career politicians are jockeying for power and influence over SOCOM. It’s what career politicians do. They trade favors to stay in power (when they’re not voting themselves another raise). They do this by exerting control over process and funding.

Death by Political Committee

Enter Linda Robinson, a self-proclaimed expert on the Special Operations community. In her testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Linda Robinson details how U.S. Special Operations Forces can be restructured to better confront emerging challenges.

I have nothing against Linda. She’s obviously very intelligent, not a very good writer (I can’t stand people who use “look at me” vocabulary words) and not on solid ground opining about the Special Operations community.

This is my personal opinion, you decide for yourself.

I don’t care how many hours you stand alongside a doctor in the operating room, it doesn’t make you a doctor and comes nowhere near experiencing what it’s like to hold life and death and the responsibility of it all in your own hands. Sorry Linda, and shame on whoever brought you in to testify before the herd of lambs.

In her testimony, Linda Robinson says:

[pullquote_right]Is she serious? The fact she says this openly is pretty revealing with regards to her own confidence in presenting her non-expert suggestions on how to restructure Special Operations” – Brandon[/pullquote_right]

“You have my full bio, but I would like to note that I have spent 27 years reporting on and researching conflicts, and in the past 13 years my research has included a great deal of time in the field and at headquarters with special operations forces at all echelons…”

“…Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Langevin, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before this distinguished panel. The purpose of my testimony is to provide thoughts on the future of U.S. Special Operations Forces to include recent initiatives being considered by U.S. Special Operations Command and the Department of Defense.

[pullquote_right]”We can’t conduct the hit sir, that’s not in our standard procedure manual“… – Brandon[/pullquote_right]

One is a policy issue: I believe that an established standard procedure for systematically weighing the costs and benefits of employing unilateral raids or strikes via unmanned drones could improve viability of….” – Linda Robinson

What Does The Future Hold For U.S. Special Operations?

Decision by committee. You’re witnessing the death of a thousand cuts by lamb politicians trying to grab onto the straps of the Special Operations community. We call them “strap hangers” where I come from.

Let it continue to happen and we will ultimately leave our Special Operations community without teeth. I’m not arguing that their shouldn’t be oversight and accountability for the community, there is an existing chain of command. What I’m saying is that whoever called this lady before the House of Representatives to give her weak ass testimony has a self-serving agenda. There are problems when you don’t let experts do their jobs, especially when it comes to lambs trying to lead lions.

I’m in the process of writing a series for SOFREP that covers the shift towards a US Special Operations Defense model, and how it’s affected Washington and the usual suspects. I will also share my thoughts on what I think we need to do to ensure that we don’t take the “Special” out of Spec Operations.

This is important because the more rules we put into the Warfighter’s ruck, the heavier and less focused he/she becomes. This makes it easier for our enemies to use our own rules against us.

We are fighting an enemy and evil ideology that has no borders and no committee oversight.

Time to start getting real people. Thanks for taking a look.


About the Author

is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to Afghanistan, and Iraq. During his last tour he served as the west coast sniper Course Manager at the Naval Special Warfare Center. He is CEO of Force12 Media , a SOFREP contributing editor, and a New York Times best selling author (The Red Circle & Benghazi: The Definitive Report). Follow Brandon on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

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  • Recon6

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  • linwood

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  • Recon6

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  • linwood

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  • Recon6

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