President Donald Trump is using Special Operations troops to carry the fight against Islamic terrorists across the globe in an attempt to minimize large conventional troop deployments.
Trump will continue the plan put in place by the Obama administration to train, equip, advise, and support the indigenous forces in the region rather than post large American conventional forces on deployments overseas.
The global reach of Special Operators is widening. During the peak of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 13,000 Special Operations Forces were deployed on missions across the globe, but a large majority were assigned to those two countries. Now more than half of the 8600 of the elite troops overseas are posted outside the Middle East or South Asia, operating in 97 countries according to the Special Operations Command.
Still, about one-third of the 6000 American troops in Iraq and Syria are Special Operators, many of whom are advising local troops and militias on the front lines. About a quarter of the 8400 troops in Afghanistan are special operators.
In Africa, about one-third of the 6000 troops assigned there are special operators.
The Special Operations forces of the US continue to do the work in trying to eliminate the terrorist enclaves around the world. And the president is removing some of the shackles that have constrained them under the previous administration, such as loosening the constraints on drone attacks, as seen by the strike recently against Al-Qaeda extremists meeting in a mosque, despite claims that they were civilians.
The US is expanding its influence in Africa, conducting counter-terrorism exercises in Chad, equipping and training local forces and building a $50 million dollar drone base in Niger that will monitor the ISIS insurgents that operate between Chad and Senegal.
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Photo courtesy DOD