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Acting SecDef reveals 'watershed' move: civilian special ops leadership to report directly to him

New policy eliminates bureaucratic layers between the Pentagon chief and the head of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.

Updated: November 18, 2020 - 12:52pm

In a major change to one component of the civilian command structure at the Pentagon, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced Wednesday that the civilian leadership of U.S. special operations forces will report directly to him.

"I have directed the special operations civilian leadership to report directly to me instead of through the current bureaucratic channels," Miller said. "This historic step ... will put Special Operations Command on par with the military services for the first time."

Miller, a former Green Beret who took part in a secret mission in Afghanistan immediately following the 9/11 attacks, announced the new policy while at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the historic home of Army Special Forces.

The new policy eliminates bureaucratic layers that have existed between the Pentagon chief and the head of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict. It also gives Special Operations Command, which is based in Tampa, Florida, a more direct line to the defense secretary.

The move is a "watershed reform," said Miller, who described U.S. Special Operations Command as "a national treasure unparalleled in the world."

The new move likely is pegged to the coming drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Pentagon official told Just the News. It also hints at current bureaucratic logjams within the Department of Defense.

"This gives Miller a direct line of sight on what's going with the drawdown, and with the people he served with," the official said.

Miller, 55,  served in Afghanistan alongside Green Berets, many of them riding horses, who went deep into Taliban territory in 2001 to seek and destroy the enemy.