Spec Ops launches ‘secret surrogate’ missions in new counter-terror strategy
By: Kyle Rempfer
U.S. counter-terrorism missions will soon place more emphasis on a little-known Pentagon program designed to help “surrogate forces,” rather than traditional allied units that are dependent on U.S. training, advice and assistance.
The shift comes as the Defense Department implements the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which prioritizes near-peer adversaries like China and Russia ahead of violent extremist organizations like the Islamic State.
“This evolving counter-terrorism [CT] operation construct will place even greater emphasis on successful programs, such as the 127 Echo program, which provides us viable surrogate forces designed to achieve U.S. CT objectives at relatively low cost in terms of resources and especially risk to our personnel,” Maj. Gen. James Hecker, vice director for operations from the joint staff, said during a congressional testimony Wednesday.