(BRAT) miniature transmitters, enabling headquarters units hundreds of miles away to know their location.”71 GEN Franks testified before the House Armed Services Committee in July that “the command and control of air, ground, naval and SOF from 7,000 miles away was a unique experience in warfare as our forces achieved unprecedented real time situational awareness and C2 connectivity.”72 ADM Giambastiani told the same committee in October 2002 that information capabilities allowed for “precision decision-making.”73 But keep in mind that those same long-distance communications were not infallible and proved to be an Achilles heel at Takur Ghar.
The Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism by the Defense Science Board focuses on the shifting counter-terrorism mission of U.S. Special Operations Forces. The report echoes the need for better HUMINT and less reliance on national technical systems such as satellites. It also recommends more DoD covert units and a much larger budget to support new expenditures.74
Indeed, SecDef Rumsfeld wants to expand his own capability and has added significantly to SOF’s budget to support operations against Al Qaeda worldwide. CIA feels some of this is duplicative, or could be. Tenet oversees intelligence programs, but DoD has the lion’s share of the budget. The referee will ultimately be the President.75
Questions remain concerning the relationship between special operations forces and the CIA. Have command and control issues been sufficiently clarified by experience in OEF and OIF? Where do DoD/SOF and IC/CIA roles overlap? Are they redundant? Or, given their differing legal authorities, do they complement one another? And will Congress view their operational cooperation as an opportunity for budgetary efficiencies? 76 Clearly, the relationship was extremely successful, if initially controversial, even contentious, in OEF. But CIA had been on the ground for years and had established relationships in place that simplified and speeded- up the job that SOF was there to do.
Afghanistan again shows that virtually all low intensity and asymmetric wars require both intelligence and military personnel on the ground to support coalition operations, directly support targeting, and gain information in real time that can support operations. The US was fortunate that it had some recent Special Forces experience in Afghanistan, but it had only a very limited pool of military and CIA operations personnel, and almost certainly would have done better with