Washington, D.C. – House leaders introduced the final conference report for the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act Nov. 30 containing a provision to reorganize Special Operations Command and provide its assistant secretary with increased powers to oversee its activities.
Under its report for the fiscal year 2017 NDAA, the Senate Armed Services Committee empowers the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SOLIC) with supervision of policy, planning, and execution of all special operations activities.
Those activities include irregular warfare and combatting terrorism as well as for integrating special operations with other Pentagon activities.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, filed the $619 billion authorization and its accompanying report. The House is scheduled to approve the measure on Friday, while the Senate is expect to consider it next week.
The provision would not impact the operational chain-of-command, but seeks to empower the SOLIC Assistant Secretary similar to service secretaries to oversee SOCOM, the report said.
The NDAA would also create a Special Operations Policy and Oversight Council – led by the SOLIC Assistant Secretary – to help integrate policy, joint processes, acquisition, and sustainment of SOF and its capabilities. The council would include at least 11 other representatives drawn from across the Pentagon, primarily at the under secretary level.
Previously filed Senate language on the provision noted it would streamline approval of decisions related to readiness and organization of special operations forces, SOF-specific resources and equipment, and civilian personnel management.
These reforms are particularly necessary in light of SOCOM’s growth since 2001, the report said. In that time the command’s number of personnel has nearly doubled; number of overseas deployments nearly quadrupled; and budget nearly tripled.
The House’s report of the NDAA would authorize a total of $8.21 billion for SOCOM in fiscal year 2017.
Featured image courtesy of DoD.