Washington, D.C. – House members pass a provision within the recently-introduced Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization that would make permanent joint training exercises led by special operations forces. This provision within the NDAA was pushed by House Democrats. The NDAA and the House Armed Services Committee continues to be a bi-partisan and professional environment despite a tumultuous political climate in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, filed the $619 billion authorization and its accompanying report Nov. 30. The House is scheduled to approve the measure on Friday, while the Senate is expected to consider it next week. “Such exercises, conducted in conjunction with partner nations, increase special operations forces’ readiness while strengthening partner capacity,” House Armed Services Committee Democrats said in a written statement.

“Such exercises, conducted in conjunction with partner nations, increase special operations forces’ readiness while strengthening partner capacity,” House Armed Services Committee Democrats said in a written statement.

A recent report on the training of SOF in the fiscal year 2015, made available by securityassistance.org, noted that the total number of events conducted under the Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program increased from 154 to 176 exercises that year. Those events occurred in 67 countries globally, with the highest number in PACOM’s area of responsibility. The U.S. paid approximately $2 million to conduct exercises globally, compared to more than $56 million provided by host countries, the report said.

Special Operations Command conducts joint combined training exercises with partner nations all over the world to develop their military tactics and skills in unfamiliar settings, while also improving bilateral relations and interoperability with partner nation militaries. The ability of SOCOM to continue to build on the success of FID and JCET missions is critical to bolstering global security.

If we had capacity to conduct a robust and comprehensive JCET and FID mission in Iraq with the Iraqi Special Operations Forces, ISIL might not be what it is today. The direct action counter terror and other “Secret Squirrel” programs that exist are vital but also distracting. The boring and mundane policy that drives all operations is king. Second might be rapport and partner force capability executed in the JCET and FID missions.

Featured image courtesy of Embassy of the United States.

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