Pentagon to get more authority to conduct overseas counter-terrorist operations

Pentagon to get more authority to conduct overseas counter-terrorist operations

WASHINGTON: (APP) President Donald Trump is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to conduct anti-terrorist operations overseas as part of efforts to step up the war against the so-called Islamic state, media reports said on Thursday.

The report in the online The Daily Beast news cited a recent raid by SEAL team in Yemen as the kind of operations on which the Pentagon may get more authority to take a decision. The Yemen raid got a wide coverage in the US media which cost the life of a Navy Seal.

The CNN quoting unnamed defense officials said that the military generals were considering having an authority on such raids which, at the moment, require the White House approval.

"President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly," the Daily Beast report said.

Such operations required a long approval process under the Obama administration.

While in declared war zones, US commanders already have the authority to make such decision, in other places like Somalia, Libya and Yemen, conducting drone strikes or special-ops operations require the White House approval.

The news website said the National Security Council spokesman was not immediately able to comment.

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"Trump officials believe loosening the permissions process can help turn up the heat against ISIS and counter-terrorist-focused agencies like the military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are lining up new targets in anticipation of more numerous and more rapid approvals," the report said.

According to the report, one of the models being considered as part of the intended move is "pre-delegating authority to Mattis on extremely sensitive operations like hostage rescues; for raids or drone strikes against pre-approved targets, that authority could be pushed much further down the chain of command, all the way down to the three-star general."

If given such loosening permission, if Mattis team spot a target that are on the White House approved high-value target list, the elite force will be able to move into action, informing the national-security apparatus, but not waiting for permission from the White House, the report said.

There has been criticism over the January 28 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL marine that it was approved so speedily that it was launched without proper planning and led to a deadly firefight with al Qaeda fighters in which one Marine was killed and six troops were wounded. Yemeni officials reported several women and children were killed.

The Yemeni government issued a statement after the raid in which it called for consultation before conducing any counter-terrorism operations on the country's soil.