WASHINGTON — The most valuable role for U.S. special operations forces within the National Defense Strategy is to build relationships with countries in hot spots around the globe to keep Russia and China at bay. But that effort can’t be at the expense of its counterterrorism mission, which remains the No. 1 priority of special forces, according to leadership within U.S. Special Operations Command.
SOCOM plans to issue a report to Congress on a comprehensive review of its roles and missions this month, according to Mark Mitchell, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, who was speaking during a recent hearing with the House Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee.
One of the main priorities for SOCOM is to carry out counterterror missions, but the National Defense Strategy focuses on great power competition against near-peer adversaries Russia and China, so House lawmakers wanted to know how special forces fit in a strategy that focuses less on counterterrorism and more on powerful adversaries.