Back in March, I posted that President Trump was exploring a novel concept. He seemed to believe that general officers were paid a lot of money and had a lot of experience and they were probably better trained to pursue military strategy than some douchenozzle with a “masters of fine arts” degree as a novelist and was a wholly owned entity of the Iranian government. He actually wanted commanders to, you know, command:
The idea that controlling a situation from the White House is superior to the combatant commander is just ridiculous. The combatant commander is going to be immersed in the regional politics and will have access to back channel communications that the White House doesn’t even know about. The Obama decision was about control, credit, and risk aversion. Hopefully that day is passing fast and we start teaching our commanders how to be commanders again.
Via The New York Times:
The Trump administration is preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. The changes would lay the groundwork for possible counterterrorism missions in countries where Islamic militants are active but the United States has not previously tried to kill or capture them.
President Trump’s top national security advisers have proposed relaxing two rules, the officials said. First, the targets of kill missions by the military and the C.I.A., now generally limited to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans, would be expanded to include foot-soldier jihadists with no special skills or leadership roles. And second, proposed drone attacks and raids would no longer undergo high-level vetting.
But administration officials have also agreed that they should keep in place one important constraint for such attacks: a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed.
The proposal to overhaul the rules has quietly taken shape over months of debate among administration officials and awaits Mr. Trump’s expected signature. Despite the preservation of the protections for civilians, the other changes seemed likely to draw criticism from human rights groups.
This is as it should be. This change of policy permits combatant commanders, like CENTCOM and AFRICOM to swiftly respond to the appearance of ISIS (and hopefully IRGC and Hezbollah agents will soon fall within the rules of engagement) anywhere and not have to wait until some sort of interagency process is completed before taking action. It is another step towards putting the White House staff and National Security Council back in the role of making policy and allowing military commanders and CIA station chiefs to work within the confines of that policy to accomplish a mission rather than allowing the incessant meddling that characterized the Obama administration.