The Obama administration wants Congress to grant it even broader authority and more funding to send U.S. troops on missions around the world dealing with everything from terror and narcotics to supporting national governments facing opposition and law enforcement operations, senior Defense Department officials told a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee. And lawmakers seemed happy to comply.
According to the administration, the line between terrorism and crime is becoming increasingly blurry. And so, the Pentagon officials claimed, legislation is needed to further blur the line between national defense and law enforcement. More power should also be granted to allow U.S. troops to intervene at home and abroad even more frequently than they already do.
"Most of the authorities that we have right now are narrowly construed to counter-terrorism,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Michael Sheehan (photo) in a hearing with legislators on the Senate Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. “I think for some countries we may need a little bit more flexibility to go in there."
Sheehan, citing Obama’s new “strategy” policies, said that the Defense Department would like to begin “integrating” its terror, drug trafficking, and transnational crime operations to “make better use of resources.” He also noted that the U.S. government’s propaganda apparatus — or its effort to “shape the global information and ideas environment,” in Sheehan’s words — would become increasingly important going forward.
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