Support grows for U.S. commando raids to fight ISIS

Bloomberg reports: As lawmakers and former Pentagon officials push President Barack Obama to deploy special-operations forces more aggressively against Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the U.S. is taking a step in that direction.

“We’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL,” Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, using an acronym for Islamic State. “This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations in Syria.” The new force may start with about 200 personnel, a U.S. official said.

With the attacks in Paris putting new pressure on Obama to show progress in the stalemated war against terrorists, defense analysts are calling for an intensified campaign of raids to disrupt the group’s leadership, gather intelligence and build momentum.

“The goal is to start a chain reaction of intelligence-driven raids that increase in frequency and expand in scope over time,” said Robert Martinage, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations under Obama. “The metric becomes can you disrupt and dismantle the network faster than the enemy can repair and regenerate it?”

A model for such special operations would be the commando raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. The tactics, honed in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, were developed by groups such as Task Force 714 in Iraq, which joined the intelligence resources of the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency with Navy Seal Team Six and Army Delta Force commandos. [Continue reading…]

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