Gen. George Casey, Army chief of staff, said last week that half of combat-ready troops will not be headed for Iraq or the ‘Stan, but instead will be ready to deploy wherever needed. That’s why you’re soon to get new ACUs and in-depth training in full spectrum operations.
So, where might this push take you? China and North Korea are always a hot topic. Defense Secretary is in China right now, and this morning described North Korea as a “direct threat” due to “the combination of their continuing nuclear programs but also the progress that they’re making in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
Congress also has its eye on a few other locations that are addressed in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. They include:
SEC. 1057 – A study and recommendations regarding the security of the southern U.S. land border. Due within six months, the study will address:
- “The extent to which the United States has or has not achieved and maintained operational control over the southern land border of the United States …
- “The extent to which any lack of operational control over the southern land border of the United States has resulted in the operation of illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons and money, violence associated with such illegal activities, and other impacts adverse to the interests of the United States …
- “The costs and benefits of steps … to achieve operational control over the southern land border of the United States.
The latter includes consideration of the “increased role for the Department of Defense” such as the potential increased deployment of unmanned aerial systems and deployment of additional units or members of the National Guard or other Department of Defense units.
It’s worth noting that Sec. 1514 of the Act also authorized $457,110,000 for DoD’s Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities.
SEC. 1241 – A requirement to monitor and evaluate DoD activities to counter violent extremism in Africa.
If you have spent most of your career in the Middle East, you should be aware that there is a whole host of folks in the thick of things as part of AfriCom’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. There, you can find everything from civil affairs, psy ops and humanitarian assistance assisting 53 nations … and disrupting and denying terrorist networks as they counter violent extremist ideology.
This evaluation, due by March 22, is not likely to slow down those efforts. It will include a description of plans by the defense secretary to make CJTF–HOA’s presence in Djibouti permanent.
There are 3,500 service members working on the African continent in stability operations, the overwhelming majority of which are guardsmen and reservists.
And last, but certainly not least …
SEC. 1243 – Development of a national military strategy to counter Iran
Congress has ordered the defense secretary to “develop a strategy, to be known as the ‘National Military Strategy to Counter Iran.” The strategy, due by late June, will provide strategic guidance to counter threats posed by Iran to the “United States, its forces, allies, and interests.” The plan also will identify gaps in intelligence that limit DoD’s ability to counter those threats.
The order specifically seeks information on “contributions of the Department of Defense to the efforts of other agencies of the United States Government to counter or address the threat emanating from Iran.”