Skip to comments.Key aide in 'Charlie Wilson's War' widens his battle against terrorism (Michael Vickers)
Posted on 01/02/2008 6:45:42 AM PST by flattorney
WASHINGTON - In the Pentagon's newly expanded Special Operations office Assistant Defense Secretary Michael Vickers is working to implement the US military's highest-priority plan: a global campaign against terrorism that reaches far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. The wide-ranging plan details the targeting of Al Qaeda-affiliated networks around the world and explores how the United States should retaliate in case of another major terrorist attack. The most critical aspect of the plan, Vickers said in a recent interview, involves US Special Operations forces working through foreign partners to uproot and fight terrorist groups. Vickers's job also spans the modernization of nuclear forces for deterrence and retaliation, and the retooling of conventional forces to combat terrorism - a portfolio so expansive that he and some Pentagon officials once jokingly referred to his efforts as the "take-over-the-world plan," one official said.
. . . Vickers, who has advised President Bush on Iraq strategy, is convinced that more US troops are not enough to solve the conflict in Iraq and that working with local forces is the best long-term strategy for both Iraq and Afghanistan. Working with proxy forces will also enable the United States to extend and sustain its influence, something it failed to do in Afghanistan, he said. "After this great victory and after a million Afghans died, we basically exited that region and Afghanistan just spun into chaos," he said. "It's imperative that we not do that again," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
For years, Vickers toiled away on boring but influential reports(1) for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank with close ties to the Pentagon. But as of July 2007, Vickers is now an assistant secretary of defense with an enormous portfolio: winning the war on terrorism. Vickers oversees Special Operations Command, whose budget has recently doubled to $6 billion in 2008, and he's especially concerned about... Pakistan's growing Islamic radicalism. Funny, that.
Testifying before Congress back in March 2006 (2), before moving to the Pentagon, Vickers predicted that the future of the global war on terrorism (GWOT) would "likely be a protracted, indirect and clandestine fight in scores [of] countries with which the U.S. is not at war." He added:
The GWOT is an intelligence and special operation-intensive war. Getting this aspect of interagency organization right, and making full use of special authorities to wage the indirect and clandestine fight, is imperative. Particularly important in this regard is leveraging the CIA's Title 50 authority for [Special Operations Forces] operations through flexible detailing of SOF personnel to the Agency.
What Vickers is reportedly doing now as assistant secretary, described in Friday's Washington Post(3), seems to reflect the same approach:
Vickers's plan to build a global counterterrorist network... is focused on a list of 20 "high-priority" countries, with Pakistan posing a central preoccupation for Vickers, who said al-Qaeda sanctuaries in the country's western tribal areas are a serious threat to the United States. The list also includes Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Yemen, Somalia and Iran, and Vickers hints that some European countries could be on it. Beyond that, the plan covers another 29 "priority" countries, as well as "other countries" that Vickers does not name.
Since 9/11, there have been occasional tensions between U.S. diplomats on the one hand, and the DOD and the CIA on the other, over clandestine activities that have gone on without the knowledge of the ambassador. If Vickers is inserting more special ops teams around the world, those tensions are bound to increase.
One of Vickers's former colleagues says he "tends to think like a gangster." It's a mindset that has served Vickers well in the past, yet it carries risks. If Vickers's teams nail Osama bin Laden in northwest Pakistan, he'll be hailed as a genius. If, on the other hand, they cause an international incident...
FOOTNOTES: - FlA
(1) Michael G. Vickers "White Papers", Presentations, and Position Statements
(2) 03.15.06 Implementing GWOT Strategy: Overcoming InterAgency Problems (PDF)
- - By Michael Vickers, Director of Strategic Studies
Related FR Posts by FlAttorney
12.29.07-FR: Special Michael G. Vickers FR Section
Posted for FlAttorney by TAB
I went to see it this weekend. Did not put dims or Charlie in a very good light in my humble opinion. The weapons left were purchased by Wilson and others and then left for use on our own soldiers who have been shot by the then 14 year old afgans....
Ping for further reference.
A special section for the movie is on FlAttorney's FR "Straight Talk" page There is much going on behind the scenes.
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