Just when we’ve begun wondering how much longer the missions carried out by U.S. special operators will be broadcast to the world, the new special operations chief, General Joseph Votel, has spoken up. In a common-sense move that is long overdue, he penned a memo expressing concerns about the Obama administration’s exposure of special operations missions.
“I am concerned with increased public exposure of SOF activities and operations, and I assess that it is time to get our forces back into the shadows,” Votel wrote.
For years, media outlets have been leaked information about secretive operations, which, upon being published, put American lives at risk. In some cases, the missions had not even occurred yet, and still it was all over the news. Attacks on Iraqi or Syrian positions held by ISIS are often broadcasted days or weeks in advance—by the White House of all sources. In some cases, warning is given to a city in order to give civilians a chance to flee, but it is no secret that our troop movements often lost the element of surprise when they needed it.
Hopefully this will be a sign of things to come from the new commander. In the meantime, many special operators will breathe a sigh of relief.