Chairman Langevin Supports Defense Department Reorganization that Strengthens Civilian Oversight of Special Operations

Nov 24, 2020 Issues: Armed Services

WARWICK, R.I. – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, today sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller expressing his support for Miller’s memo requiring the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict to report directly to the Secretary of Defense. This reorganization effort clarifies the Department’s chain of command and strengthens civilian oversight of Special Operations Forces. The following statement may be attributed to Congressman Langevin.

“Today, I have sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Miller regarding his decision to have the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC) report directly to him. While I was not informed of the reorganization in advance, I support it because it will clarify the administrative chain of command between the Secretary of Defense and ASD SO/LIC in a manner consistent with Congressional intent. I support efforts to strengthen civilian oversight of Special Operations Forces, who conduct some of our most secretive and sensitive missions. I will follow implementation closely to ensure the reorganization does not remove the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from the development and oversight of special operations policy. 

“As he prepares to take office, I urge President-elect Biden to prioritize the Senate confirmation of an ASD SO/LIC who will singularly represent the position, perform no other duties, and provide stable, civilian leadership. While for the past two decades our primary adversaries have been terrorist groups, today we are faced with state actors who employ proxies, exhibit diplomatic and economic influence, and wage sophisticated information operations. Special Operations Forces will continue to perform some of the military’s most dangerous missions but as part of a broader strategy that equally relies on other U.S. forces. An empowered ASD SO/LIC will direct this change and inculcate the cultural shift special operators need in this era of great power competition.”

 Full text of the letter.