Ezra Cohen-Watnick

On Changes to Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Command Structure

delivered 18 November 2020, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Audio mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

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 h[a]llowed 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.2

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 real -- 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 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.

1 See Section 922 of the 2017 Defense Authorization Act

2 West Point Military Academy Commencement Address

Original Text Source: Defense.gov

Original Audio, Video, Image (Enhanced Screenshot) Source: DVIDSHub.net

Audio Note: Line noise from source video audible throughout but esp. pronounced during the first 20 seconds. Light noise reduction and other digital enhancements by Michael E. Eidenmuller for AmericanRhetoric.com.

Video Note: Frame interpolated from 30fps to 60fps. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Page Updated: 1/5/24

U.S. Copyright Status: Text = Public domain. Audio and Image = Property of AmericanRhetoric.com. Video = Public domain (with use subject to these terms).

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