NOV. 18, 2020
ANNOUNCER: Good morning, acting Secretary Miller and distinguished guests. We are gathered today for a signing ceremony to implement the reforms outlined in Section 922 of the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
For nearly four years, the Department of Defense has planned and prepared to implement this important legislation. It not only strengthens the role of the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict as a senior civilian for special operations within the department, but it also reinforces the partnership with the commander of the United States Special Operations Command.
Ladies and gentlemen, we will have opening remarks from the acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, Mr. Ezra Cohen.
ACTING UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE EZRA COHEN-WATNICK: Thank you, Jim.
Mr. Secretary, on behalf of the men and women of U.S. Special Operations, especially Army Special Operations, welcome home. We are honored that you have returned to your roots on this historic day on hallowed ground.
Today, the Department of Defense has started the process of formalizing what we have long known – the fundamental role of U.S. Special Operations in defense and foreign policy by elevating Special Operations forces to a level on par with military departments as authorized and directed by Congress.
As we enact these reforms, we follow the vision of President John F. Kennedy, who predicted the rise of Special Operations nearly 60 years ago. He foresaw, quote, “another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin, that would require a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, forces which are too unconventional to be called conventional forces, which are growing in number and importance and significance.”
President Kennedy gave these remarks at the opening of the nuclear age, when the Pentagon was primarily organized to plan and direct large conventional operations against superpowers, not special operations short of overt declared conflict. The global demand for Special Operations forces then and now has confirmed President Kennedy’s foresight. And now, under the leadership of President Trump, we are fully realizing President Kennedy’s prescient view of Special Operations forces.
It is fitting that we are again entering an era of great power competition as we gather to affir affirm the importance of special the Special Operations community. Then, as now, I know Special Operations forces will play a vital role, and by the historic reforms we have enacted today, we will ensure Special Operations forces has a civilian advocate commensurate to the secretaries of the other military departments. I am honored to serve as your service secretary. Thank you very much.