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"U.S. Special Operations Forces Deployed to 149 Countries" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2017 4:10 p.m. PST

… in 2017.

""We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in October 2017. That was in the wake of the combat deaths of four members of the Special Operations forces in the West African nation of Niger.

Graham and other senators expressed shock about the deployment, but the global sweep of America's most elite forces is, at best, an open secret.

Earlier this year before that same Senate committee — though Graham was not in attendance — Gen. Raymond Thomas, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, offered some clues about the planetwide reach of America's most elite troops. "We operate and fight in every corner of the world," he boasted. "Rather than a mere ‘break-glass-in-case-of-war' force, we are now proactively engaged across the ‘battle space' of the Geographic Combatant Commands … providing key integrating and enabling capabilities to support their campaigns and operations."…"
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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP29 Dec 2017 6:03 p.m. PST

"We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing"

Hmm … It's so comforting to hear such words from a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


daler240D Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member29 Dec 2017 6:26 p.m. PST

it's almost as if no one is in charge, or at least no one accountable.

USAFpilot29 Dec 2017 7:16 p.m. PST

So what? The US has had a global presence for a long time now. The fact that most Americans are not aware of that does not surprise me. Most Americans couldn't find Iraq on a world map.

The Senate may have some over site, but they are not in the military chain of command. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some Congressmen who couldn't find Iraq on a map.

28mm Fanatik29 Dec 2017 7:24 p.m. PST

Only 149?

It's not that our political leaders are ignorant, even though you can make a case for our chief executive, but politicians usually are not concerned or interested in every detail of every deployment. They're more than happy to let the military handle such mundane matters and brief them only when necessary, such as if things go wrong.

Begemot Inactive Member30 Dec 2017 12:38 a.m. PST

So what? The US has had a global presence for a long time now. The fact that most Americans are not aware of that does not surprise me.

Would it be "So what" if it were the Chinese or the Russians? Probably not. It would be regarded in some quarters as a cause for hysteria. The loose-bowels brigade would be in high dudgeon.

Most Americans aren't aware of these deployments because their masters generally don't see fit to tell them. Reasons of national security, of course. So when the blow back comes the American people are shocked that anyone could hate them so much as to try to kill them, not aware that their government has been up to mischief in dark corners of the world and the victims of America's attentions probably consider it just pay back for their dead relatives. The average American thinks the blow back is unjustified aggression because he doesn't know the back story, but this works for the US government because the American people then support more US government violence in the world. And so it goes, on and on.

So what? It's all just part of being the global hegemon. Move on folks. Nothing to see here.

Andy ONeill30 Dec 2017 5:57 a.m. PST

Special forces? Presumably the likes of delta rather than embassy protection.
That seems quite a lot of countries to have delta operating in.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP30 Dec 2017 9:25 a.m. PST

USAFPilot: "The fact that most Americans are not aware of that does not surprise me. Most Americans couldn't find Iraq on a world map."

But the statement of surprise did not come from an average American, did it?

"We don't know exactly where we're at in the world, militarily, and what we're doing"

Not a horrible thing to say during a closed meeting, among only peers, but seems a tiny bit irresponsible when shared openly that way. It is their job to know these things or, if they don't know it, to at least inspire public confidence and make us think they have everything under control.


Daniel30 Dec 2017 11:05 a.m. PST

I didn't read the article but there's nothing nefarious behind having SF deployed in many locations. Why would anyone here be shocked to learn they're in the Philippines, Columbia, El Salvador, Thailand, Indonesia and on and on until the total reaches 149? That's what they do and very much part of the job – always has been. They aren't paid for (and didn't sign up for) sitting on a US base. They are training, getting trained, cooperating whether war or peace. If made to "stay home" I bet most of them would quit.

coopman01 Jan 2018 11:07 a.m. PST

Wow, that a lot of presence in foreign countries. How many people are in our special ops forces? I always thought that they were a relatively small no. of highly trained personnel.

28mm Fanatik01 Jan 2018 5:57 p.m. PST

Since 9/11, the US has prioritized and expanded its special operations capability and personnel, shifting away from large standing formations of the type seen throughout the Cold War.

Murvihill03 Jan 2018 11:42 a.m. PST

This is one of those statistics that are trotted out periodically to prove that the US is an imperial power, with our fingers in too many pies. Trying to understand that raw number reveals something different. First this website:
shows where US troop deployments are by country. They say there are 177 countries with US troops in them (OMG!). However, if you actually count the countries listed on the map there are only ~40, so what about the other 137? The site says there are less than 50 US military in the other countries. Then I went to the USMC wiki page about embassy security and found that there are detachments in 135 countries:
Suddenly the 177 number seems a little silly?
I also went and googled foreign service personnel in the USA and only found this from 1998:
With ~8,840 foreign military occupying us, maybe the US is the satellite of some other country's empire? Now, if we combine the two and say how many countries have more US troops than the US has foreign troops we get five. Not a significant number and it shows how ridiculous the whole argument is.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

Most Americans couldn't find Iraq on a world map.

Evidently, 11% of young Americans can't find the US on a map:

So is it possible they various units were ordered to Fort Dix and got lost, ending up in all manner of other countries?

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