A recently declassified report sheds light on a long-running, covert CIA program known as OMEGA, which leveraged Special Forces soldiers for global operations beyond traditional war zones.

This joint program between the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) combined the tactical prowess of elite military units like Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, and the 75th Ranger Regiment with the CIA’s vast intelligence network.

The Rise of “Proxy Wars” and the Need for Discretion

In the 1980s, ugly proxy wars in Central America between the Soviet Union and the United States were in full swing.

With the CIA having lost some of its best toys due to the Church Committee hearings, amongst other disclosures, America was reluctant to deploy military forces en masse after the Vietnam War.

Creative solutions had to be found to prevent communist regimes from sprouting up in America’s backyard.

The answer was to take active-duty Special Forces soldiers and place them in the Central Intelligence Agency’s financial roles, deploying them as notional para-military contractors.

One such individual was WO2 James West, an active-duty Warrant Officer from 7th Special Forces Group.

While the White House had limited the number of actual soldiers who were allowed to deploy to Honduras, this did not apply to “CIA personnel” like West and his teammates.

This also provided the White House with plausible deniability, allowing the President to go on television and say that we did not have troops in countries X, Y, and Z.

It is a game as old as time.

The military holds Title 10 authorities related to war-time deployments, while the CIA holds Title 50 authorities, which allow for covert operations.

Combining the two authorities by “sheep dipping” active-duty military personnel allows for the best of both worlds.

Granted, it exploits a legal loophole and circumvents the intent of the law, but this gray area is something that politicians, the military, and the CIA are all rather comfortable with.

OMEGA: A Modern Legacy of Covert Operations

The modern-day program of this nature was OMEGA, an obsolete code name no longer used, first started in Afghanistan.
In some ways, similar to MACV-SOG in the Vietnam War, OMEGA is a joint program between the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command.

Including elements of Delta Force, DEVGRU, and the 75th Ranger Regiment, OMEGA uses Special Operations soldiers to do the heavy lifting while the CIA provides targeting intelligence.

The OMEGA program has not only been active in Afghanistan or Pakistan but across the globe.

Yemen is certainly one country where blended JSOC/CIA teams have operated, and other locations could be speculated upon as we notice interesting signatures in certain parts of Africa.

Beyond Assassination: The Reality of OMEGA Missions

To many Americans, a program like OMEGA confirms their deepest fears, fears that special operations soldiers are being used as “CIA assassins,” but the reality is that most OMEGA missions are not that different from any other special operations mission.

Capturing and killing High-Value Targets, conducting vehicle interdictions, and intelligence gathering are something that the CIA and JSOC can do independently of one another.

However, rather than having these two bureaucracies compete for the same missions, it is much more profitable to work in a joint environment.

As we point out, such a program is hardly without precedent. Studies and Observations Group (SOG) was a joint CIA/Special Forces program during the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, a program called “Quail Shooter” was implemented in Central America to counter the influence of communist insurgents by placing active-duty Special Forces soldiers on the CIA roster.

Today, another program deploys Special Forces soldiers to a country in the Middle East to train the Free Syrian Army (FSA), all under the auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Why Discuss OMEGA Now? Transparency vs. Media Hype

So why write about OMEGA now? The New York Times and Wired Magazine outed the program many years ago, although neither seems to fully understand what it is.

Considering the Times article yesterday about the so-called “Secret History of SEAL Team Six,” which talks about DEVGRU’s involvement in OMEGA, this program is going to be splashed across the newspapers around the world whether any of us like it or not.


This article has been reviewed and updated by the SOFREP News Team.