Joint Special Operations Command
|Joint Special Operations Command
— JSOC —
Emblem of the Joint Special Operations Command
|Active||15 December 1980-Present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Part of||United States Special Operations Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Engagements||Operation Urgent Fury
Operation Just Cause
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Provide Comfort
Operation Gothic Serpent
Operation Uphold Democracy
Operation Allied Force
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Neptune Spear
|LTG Joseph Votel|
|William H. McRaven
Stanley A. McChrystal
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is a component command of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques to ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop Joint Special Operations Tactics. It was established in 1980 on recommendation of Col. Charlie Beckwith, in the aftermath of the failure of Operation Eagle Claw. It is located at Pope Army Air Field and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, USA.
The JSOC is the "joint headquarters designed to study special operations requirements and techniques; ensure interoperability and equipment standardization; plan and conduct joint special operations exercises and training; and develop joint special operations tactics." For this task, the Joint Communications Unit (JCU) is tasked to ensure compatibility of communications systems and standard operating procedures of the different special operations units.
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) also commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMU) of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). These units perform highly classified activities. So far, only three SMUs have been publicly disclosed: The Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta, the Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron. Units from the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145.
The Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) is also under JSOC. The ISA collects specific target intelligence prior to SMU missions, and provides signals support, etc. during those mission. The army once maintained the ISA, but after the September 11 attacks, the Pentagon shifted direct control to Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, NC. JSOC’s primary mission is believed to be identifying and destroying terrorists and terror cells worldwide.
JSOC has an excellent relationship with the CIA's elite Special Activities Division (SAD) and the two forces often operate together. The SAD's Special Operations Group often selects their recruits from JSOC.
Advanced Force Operations
Advanced Force Operations (AFO) is a term used by the U.S. Department of Defense to describe a task force that encompasses personnel from 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), DEVGRU and U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity (USAISA). According to Gen. Michael Repass, who conducted it in the Iraq War and was very familiar with its use in Afghanistan, "AFO consists of U.S. Secretary of Defense-approved military operations such as clandestine operations, source operations, and deployment of enabling forces and capabilities to conduct target-specific preparations prior to the conduct of an actual operation. It is logically part of Operational Preparation of the Battlespace (OPB), which follows the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace, a concept well-known in U.S. and NATO doctrine, OPB is seldom used outside of Special Operations Forces channels. OPB is defined by the U.S. Special Operations Command as “Non-intelligence activities conducted prior to D-Day, H-Hour, in likely or potential areas of employment, to train and prepare for follow-on military operations".
An AFO unit reported to JSOC in the Afghanistan War. In the Iraq War, Respass, who first commanded the 10th Special Forces Group, took control of a Joint Unconventional Warfare Task Force, which used the 5th and 10th Groups to conduct AFO. AFO units were heavily involved in Operation Anaconda.
JSO Package / Rotational Group
The Joint Special Operations Package / Rotational Group of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) consist of Tier 1 and Tier 2 U.S. Joint Special Operations Command units that train and deploy together. All Tier 1 and Tier 2 units maintain three separate operational groups within their respective units, (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Ranger Battalion) is an example. These groups are essentially identical and deploy within their respective JSOC package. The rotational cycle is generally three months. This allows one group to be deployed overseas, another to be on an 18-hour worldwide emergency deployment notice, and the last group to be training, attending military schools, or on "block leave." Tier 1 and Tier 2 units take leave together within their respective JSOC package. This term is called block leave. Given the wartime tasking of JSOC, an additional deployment package is currently being created. This will allow less operational strain on these units.
JSOC has provided support to domestic law enforcement agencies during high profile or high risk events such as the Olympics, the World Cup, political party conventions and Presidential inaugurations. Although use of the military for law enforcement purposes in the U.S. is generally prohibited by the Posse Comitatus Act, Title 10 of the U.S. Code expressly allows the Secretary of Defense to make military personnel available to train Federal, State, and local civilian law enforcement officials in the operation and maintenance of equipment; and to provide such law enforcement officials with expert advice. Additionally, civilian and uniformed military lawyers said provisions in several federal statutes, including the Fiscal Year 2000 Defense Department Authorization Act, Public Law 106-65, permits the secretary of defense to authorize military forces to support civilian agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the event of a national emergency, especially any involving nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.
In January 2005, a small group of commandos were deployed to support security at the Presidential inauguration. They were allegedly deployed under a secret counter-terrorism program named Power Geyser. The New York Times quoted a senior military official as saying, "They bring unique military and technical capabilities that often are centered around potential WMD events," A civil liberties advocate who was told about the program by a reporter said that he had no objections to the program as described to him because its scope appeared to be limited to supporting the counterterrorism efforts of civilian authorities.
Operations in Pakistan
According to The Washington Post, JSOC's commander Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal operated in 2006 on the understanding with Pakistan that US units will not enter Pakistan except under extreme circumstances, and that Pakistan will deny giving them permission.
That scenario happened according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), in January 2006, JSOC troops clandestinely entered the village of Saidgai, Pakistan, to hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan refused entry.
According to a recent report in The Nation, JSOC, in tandem with Blackwater/Xe, has an ongoing drone program, along with snatch/grab/assassination operations, based in Karachi and conducted both in and outside of Pakistan.
In a recent leak published on the Wikileaks website, U.S. embassy communication cables from the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson states the Pakistani Army approved the deployment of U.S. Special Operations Forces, which include elements from the Joint Special Operations Command were embedded in the Pakistani Army's 11th Corps to provide support for operations targeting militant groups in north and south Waziristan and other areas of Pakistan. The extent of these actions would include assisting in training but also to conduct 'offensive combat operations'. These actions by JSOC elements would be mainly providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets such as drone UAV aircraft.
Operations in Iran
On 11 January 2007, President Bush pledged in a major speech to "seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq." The next day, in a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Chairman Senator Joseph Biden (Delaware), informed U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the Bush Administration did not have the authority to send U.S. troops on cross-border raids. Biden said, "I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover that, and he does need congressional authority to do that. I just want to set that marker."
Sometime in 2007, JSOC started conducting cross-border operations into Iran from southern Iraq with the CIA. These operations included seizing members of Al-Quds, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and taking them to Iraq for interrogation, as well as the pursuit, capture or killing of high-value targets in the war on terror. The Bush administration allegedly combined the CIA's intelligence operations with JSOC covert military operations so that Congress would only partially see how the money was spent.
Operations in Yemen
Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda member, was killed on September 30, 2011, by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command. After several days of surveillance of Awlaki by the Central Intelligence Agency, armed drones took off from a new, secret American base in the Arabian Peninsula, crossed into northern Yemen and unleashed a barrage of Hellfire missiles at al-Awlaki's vehicle. Samir Khan, a Pakistani-American al-Qaeda member and editor of the jihadist Inspire magazine, also reportedly died in the attack. The combined CIA/JSOC drone strike was the first in Yemen since 2002 — there have been others by the military’s Special Operations forces — and was part of an effort by the spy agency to duplicate in Yemen the covert war which has been running in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
List of JSOC commanders
|Rank and Name||Start of Term||End of Term|
|MG Richard Scholtes||December 1980||August 1984|
|MG Carl Stiner||August 1984||January 1987|
|MG Gary E. Luck||January 1987||December 1989|
|MG Wayne A. Downing||December 1989||August 1991|
|MG William F. Garrison||1992||July 1994|
|MG Peter J. Schoomaker||July 1994||August 1996|
|MG Michael Canavan||1 August 1996||1 August 1998|
|LTG Bryan D. Brown||1998||2000|
|LTG Dell L. Dailey||2001||March 2003|
|LTG Stanley McChrystal||September 2003||June 2008|
|VADM William H. McRaven||June 2008||June 2011|
|LTG Joseph Votel||June 2011||Present|
- Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six)
- 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta (Delta Force or ACE)
- U.S. Air Force 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24th STS)
- Intelligence Support Activity (The Activity)
- Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division Special Operations Group (SAD/SOG)
- Strategic Support Branch
- Emerson 1988, p. 26.
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- GlobalSecurity.org JSOC entry
- Rowan Scarborough (15 March 2004). "Agencies unite to find bin Laden". Washington Times. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
- Feickert, Andrew (17 April 2006). U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress
- Woodward, Bob (18 November 2001). "Secret CIA Units Playing A Central Combat Role". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
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- Repass, Michael S. (7 April 2003), Combating Terrorism with Preparation of the Battlespace, U.S. Army War College
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- Jeremy Scahill (1 December 2010). "The (Not So) Secret (Anymore) US War in Pakistan". The Nation.
- Ross, Brian; Tapper, Jake; Esposito, Richard; Schifrin, Nick (2 May 2011). "Osama Bin Laden Killed By Navy Seals in Firefight". ABC News. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
- Jeremy Scahill (2 May 2011). "JSOC: The Black Ops Force That Took Down Bin Laden". The Nation.
- "Full Transcript Of Bush's Iraq Speech". CBS News. 10 January 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
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- "Same US military unit that got Osama bin laden [sic] killed Anwar al-Awlaki", The Telegraph, UK (September 30, 2011)
- Mark Mazzetti, Eric Schmitt and Robert F. Worth, "Two-Year Manhunt Led to Killing of Awlaki in Yemen", New York Times (September 30 2011)
- General Bryan D. Brown Aurora, Flight Sciences Corporation
- "Vice Admiral Named JSOC Head". military.com / McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
- "Former JSOC Commander McRaven nominated to lead US Special Ops Command". Jan 6, 2010.
- "Votel nominated to head up Joint Special Operations Command". Stars and Stripes. February 17, 2011.
- Berntsen, Gary; Pezzulo, Ralph (27 December 2005). Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander. Crown. p. 352. ISBN 0-307-35106-8.
- Daugherty, William J. (2 June 2006). Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency. University Press of Kentucky. p. 328. ISBN 0-8131-9161-0.
- Emerson, Steven (1988). Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. p. 256. ISBN 0-399-13360-7. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joint_Special_Operations_Command&action=edit§ion=9.
- Smith, Michael (2006). Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team. London: Cassell. p. 352. ISBN 0-304-36727-3.
- Steven, Graeme C. S. and Gunaratna, Rohan (14 September 2004). Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook. Contemporary World Issues. p. 293. ISBN 978-1-85109-666-4.
- ShadowSpear Special Operations: JSOC
- Special Ops say lives were on line in Lynch's rescue, by The Washington Times
- US special operations come of age, by Global Defence Review