September 23, 2023

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The Pentagon plans to withdraw support for most CIA counterterrorism operations

The Pentagon plans to withdraw support for most CIA counterterrorism operations

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller informed CII Director Gina Haspel about the decision in a letter this week.

The U.S. military provides extensive support for CIA paramilitary operations, including air transport, logistics and medical evacuation. These changes, which will take place by January 5, will include some military equipment, including DOD personnel and Predator drones described to the CIA.

The move is the latest major policy change since President Donald Trump launched a major staff shake-up at the Pentagon following his election defeat with Joe Biden.

The Trump administration has announced the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, and in recent weeks has largely jettised the Pentagon’s civilian leadership, hurting political loyalists in place of officials as his administration nears its end. From Secretary of Defense Mark Esper fired Through a November 9 tweet, the president expelled at least three superiors and appointed perceived loyalists in their place and targeted two advisory boards.

A former senior administration official told CNN that the Biden administration was planning to reverse the move.

“The Department of Defense routinely provides logistical and other support to U.S. government departments and agencies around the world. This support is provided in accordance with the Economy Act and other applicable law. As a responsible actor, the Department sees better 2018 National Defense Strategy Equalize its resource allocation as it becomes a great power competition.” Department Representative Lt. Col. Uria L. Orland said in a statement later Thursday.

“Much has changed in the first two decades of this century, and both the DOD and the CIA are working closely with the CIA to ensure that they can jointly meet the national security challenges facing the United States,” he said in line with the national defense strategy. .

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CIA spokesman Nicole de Hay also told CNN that “there is no strong relationship or good partnership between the CIA and the DoD.”

“That partnership has led to significant improvements in US national security, and we are confident that the DOD and CII will continue this close cooperation in the years to come,” she said.

In a letter to the CIA, Miller told CNN that the Department of Defense was considering how to update the department’s memorandum of understanding with the CIA for the first time since 2005.

The letter asked the CII to respond to its response by Jan. 5, which the official said was linked to the Pentagon’s focus on a national defense strategy focusing on Russia and China, Esper argued.

Esper is already in the midst of major reviews of all Pentagon components, set out to make sure they are integrated with the National Defense Strategy.

The news of the plan came after CNN reported The CIA operator was killed last month During an operation in Somalia, according to a senior administration official familiar with the matter. The officer was injured in an operation in the country and later died.

The officer’s identity was not disclosed but the source said the officer was a former Navy SEAL.

Last week the administration confirmed plans to withdraw almost all troops from the country in early 2021.

U.S. Special Operations Forces have been deployed with the Somali National Army to assist in the fight against the terrorist organization al-Shabab. In addition to advising on airstrikes and ground strikes, the primary task of the Navy SEAL-led team is to train and build Somalia its own Elite Light Infantry Force.

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U.S. military advisers in Somalia usually try to advance Somali forces during operations, but there have been incidents where U.S. forces have found themselves in war situations.

In September, a US service member was wounded in al-Shabab attacks on U.S. and Somali forces in the country. In August, U.S. forces launched an air strike targeting al-Shabab fighters in the vicinity of Salam, Dar, after local U.S.-backed forces opened fire from the building.

Acting Defense Secretary visits Somalia for the first time amid reports of major forces cuts

The Pentagon inspector general’s report released this year said the conflict in Somalia was “at a standstill” as US-backed Somali government forces continued to fight al-Shabab, while a rebel group continued to target Somali and international forces in the south of the country. Provinces.

The African Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency estimate that al-Shabab will command between 5,000 and 10,000 fighters.

Although US military advisers have been in Somalia since at least 2013, the effort has received a large boost during the Trump administration, which has expanded drone strikes and volunteered to launch the Danab Advisory Mission in 2017.

CNN’s Barbara Star contributed to this report.