After more than 16 years of hunting terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, U.S. Special Operations Command is expected to perform in an era of increasing great power competition.
The unclassified summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy laid out the Pentagon’s view of the evolving geopolitical environment.
“Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” the document stated.
The special ops community has signaled that it intends to adjust to the new situation.
“With the new NDS, we will be looking beyond U.S. SOCOM’s lead role in countering terrorism, to recognizing [special operations forces] as a critical component in all aspects of warfighting,”
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Owen West said in recent testimony to the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities.