As the US increasingly turns to Special Forces instead of troop deployments to make surgical hits, the admiral in charge of Special Forces Command is looking for more autonomy in positioning his elite units and their equipment around the world, reports the New York Times. Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the SEAL team raid that killed Osama bin Laden, aims to step up special ops forces in a program called Global SOF Alliance, which would allow increased elasticity in moving troops to different theaters of operations, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Many of the military's regional commanders, however, have opposed increasing special ops out of concern that it will reduce their authority. Several ambassadors said special forces operations in crisis zones could create diplomatic problems as countries consider such maneuvers a violation of their sovereignty. While no decision has been reached by the White House yet, officials said that even if the new protocols were approved, special forces operations could still only be ordered by a regional four-star commander. Special Operations Command now has 66,000 personnel, twice what it had in 2001, but many officials worry the increased reliance on special ops could overtax the elite forces. (Read more Special Ops stories.)