April 10, 2024

Manchin Questions DoD Special Operations And Cyber Commanders On Modern Role Of U.S. Special Forces, Establishment Of East Coast Training Venue

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), questioned U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Special Operations and Cyber Commanders on the modern role of the U.S. Special Operations Command (Special Forces) and the importance of establishing an East Coast training venue for their initiatives.

On the modern role of U.S. Special Forces:

“Some believe our Special Forces only perform a counterterrorism role. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Senator Manchin said in part. “Our Special Forces were created out of the need to fight using unconventional tactics that we all call irregular warfare. While the counterterrorism fight is still ongoing, countering our adversaries like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and non-state actors is the bread and butter of irregular warfare concepts…Can you expand on the needs of our Special Forces and how we can support them to be able to compete on the highest level in the world?”

On the importance of establishing an East Coast training venue:

“We’ve spoken multiple times about the need for an East Coast training venue for Special Forces instead of the units spending half of their training budgets on transporting themselves to the West Coast to other training venues where they have to jump through hoops for approval on basic training needs to meet their readiness goals. Do you believe an East Coast training venue capable of hosting readiness events would be beneficial and cost effective to current and future Special Forces?” Senator Manchin questioned. “States like West Virginia are made up of National Guard forces. They're very strong and very diligent, and they are committed to adding value to readiness operations and so many more of your needs, so I hope that you will look towards that.”

The witnesses were Christopher P. Maier, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; General Bryan P. Fenton, Commander, United States Special Operations Command; and General Timothy D. Haugh, Commander, United States Cyber Command/Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service.

A video of Senator Manchin’s questioning of the witnesses can be found here: