Trump’s New Acting Secretary of Defense Elevates Special Operations at Pentagon

DVIDSHUB via Flickr

While hysterical partisan critics wail at President Trump’s reshuffling of top Pentagon leadership, his new Acting Defense Secretary (SECDEF) Christopher Miller is wasting no time to implement and accelerate needed reforms. His most recent change includes ordering the top civilian at the Pentagon overseeing the military’s special operations command to report directly to the Secretary of Defense.

Miller made this announcement on his first official visit since becoming Acting SECDEF while visiting Fort Bragg, the home of the Army’s Special Operations.

The civilian noted above is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD (SO/LIC)). Before this change, the ASD (SO/LIC) reported to the defense secretary through the undersecretary of defense for policy, the number three ranking civilian at the Pentagon.

Many argued that with that chain of command, special operations often got lost in the huge ‘defense policy’ office bureaucracy.

Steve Balestrieri notes in SOFREP that “since the ASD (SO/LIC) will no longer have to go through the layers of the Pentagon’s DoD Policy office, DoD Policy had been against the move from the start.”

According to SOFREP, “Miller said this move is the first step towards making the position a service secretary-like position responsible for the oversight and advocacy of the military’s special operations force.”

As SOFREP notes, this long-overdue change “effectively brings the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) on par with military departments per authority from the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.” SOFREP added:

Congress’s intent was for the ASD (SO/LIC) position to be a service secretary-like job and report directly to the defense secretary “for issues impacting the readiness and organization of special operations forces, special operations-peculiar resources and equipment, and civilian personnel management.”

In a letter to then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper last year, members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees complained about the Pentagon’s failure to follow through on their intent. In the letter, they specifically mentioned the need for “civilian oversight and advocacy for Special Operations Forces.“

As I described in an earlier piece, Miller is a veteran of the special operations community, retiring from the Army six years ago as a Green Beret colonel. He also served briefly as ASD (SO/LIC) on a temporary basis earlier this year. As part of Trump’s reshuffling, Ezra Cohen-Watnick is currently the acting ASD (SO/LIC).

Miller laid out a requirement to the ASD (SO/LIC) to provide an implementation plan in 30 days. “This timeline,” notes SOFREP, “will give the department about a month before the Biden administration assumes office, which will then accept or reject the plan.”

That is assuming Biden is certified the winner.

In his remarks at Ft. Bragg, Miller also added that he hopes Congress will soon elevate the ASD (SO/LIC) position further to an undersecretary of defense level since he lacks the authority to do so as SECDEF.

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - - PAULCRESPO.COM

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Great Move. Must be applauded

1 year ago

a great move indeed, while the civilian policy makers must oversee and control the military at a policy level, for Constitutional purposes, the levels within the military must be freed of Bureaucracy, and restrictions of nonelected bureaucrats…. SoC and JSoC, Must be Directly responsible to sec def for many reasons, most importantly expedience in time of need….Bureaucrats have the peculiar thought line of “I’m the boss, its Friday/ anniversary/ her birthday, I’m taking my wife to dinner, we’ll talk on Monday”…. Having that third layer Simply adds one more day to delays in planning and Execution.

Floyd Hardee
1 year ago

Those Ghost Voters have done us in. Looks like we have dead voters and Ghost Voters galore. Biden gets more votes in each state than his cronies, the Governors, Senators, and Congressmen/women. In fact in some states hem blew them away being the only candidate they voted for. However his Democratic comrades did not fair so well losing numerous Congressional seats, Governorships, and state legislators all going Republican. Wonder why? Could it be those late night, early morning voters who only voted for him between 2:00am and :3:30 am? If the Supreme Court upholds his victory we will know they were paid off and we have been sold out. We will know that there is no Justice, we are Slaves to these Thieves in the Night!

Glenn Jay Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Floyd Hardee

Well said the deep state must be identified and justice must be served!!!

Tractor Man
Tractor Man
1 year ago

Investigating this fraud election?

Glenn Jay Martin
1 year ago

President Trump has the WILL to keep America great four more years is the war to win to serve this land of greatness to continue

People, Places & Things