October 29, 2005:
The Department of Defense has hired a retired four-star general to examine SOCOM's (Special Operations Command) performance in the war on terror. SOCOM was assigned the lead role in going after terrorists, and the Department of Defense wants to get a better idea of how well SOCOM is doing in this department. This is being interpreted as dissatisfaction with SOCOM's counter-terror operations, but it could also be nothing more than looking for a second opinion. SOCOM collects lots of statistics on its operations, and is constantly supplying the Department of Defense with detailed reports on what they are doing and what the results are. But that's where there may be a problem. Unlike conventional wars, there is no easy way to predict when the war will be won, or how much progress is being made in that direction. There's no enemy real estate or capital city to capture. From the start, it was understood that this would be a long war. But getting the public to accept that the right moves are being made in the war, becomes increasingly difficult as the war goes on. It's uncharted territory, actually, and the Department of Defense is looking for new tactics, and new ways to measure progress. By having a senior outsider take a look at what SOCOM has been doing, some new ideas may emerge.