Today, America and the world face a myriad of security challenges – the attacks on our troops in Iraq, the train and bus bombings in London and Madrid, the rockets fired into Israel, and the risk of terror cells operating inside our own borders. Across the world, the Jihadist threat takes on many different forms. It is no longer enough to act against this threat in a piecemeal fashion. Iraq, Afghanistan and our homeland are all fronts in this war. It all matters. The integration, sustainability, and breadth of this war against violent Jihad must now take on a new dimension. We must focus on establishing a new, effective strategy which enables success at the all important local level around the world.
In a speech last night to the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum, Governor Romney outlined his Global Initiative for Values and Freedom – a comprehensive strategy to defeat radical Jihad, ensure our security and advance freedom and human rights across the globe. This will be a truly global strategy that combines our efforts with others, brings more tools of our national power to bear and implements specific, tailored strategies for each nation at risk.
Included in this strategy is the creation of a new force to defeat Jihadist efforts and win hearts and minds. Governor Romney will establish a Special Partnership Force (SPF), with the leadership core drawn from Army Special Forces and Intelligence personnel.
This Force would work hand-in-glove with local host governments. Together, they would seek to target and separate terrorists from the local population, and to disrupt and defeat them. They would have the authority to call in all elements of civil assistance and humanitarian aid. Where they felt it was necessary, they could call in Delta and SEAL military resources. Their goal would be to build national institutions of stability and freedom, and to promote the rule of law and human rights.
The Special Partnership Force must be driven by intelligence, highly integrated with all our sources of power and with those of other nations, and coordinated with the host country and in full partnership with it. This can not be another one-off capability. It must be a sustainable capacity that is a fixture of our war against violent Jihadism.
While this would represent a new capability, the SPF would build on the work done by past efforts that have defeated terrorist threats. Our own recent efforts in the Philippines prove the value of highly integrated teams working in tandem with non-military efforts to starve terrorists and ultimately crush them.
Cofer Black is a former United States Department of State Coordinator for Counterterrorism. Black also had a distinguished 28-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency. Cofer Black is the Romney for President Senior Adviser for counterterrorism and national security issues.
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