Armor & Mobility

May/ June 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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General Raymond A. Thomas III currently serves as the 11th Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Prior to assuming command of USSOCOM, Gen. Thomas served as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Fort Bragg, N.C. GEN Thomas' other assignments as a general officer include: Associate Director for Military Affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency; Commanding General, NATO Special Operations Com- ponent Command – Afghanistan; Deputy Commanding General, JSOC; Deputy Director for Special Operations, The Joint Staff in the Pentagon; Assistant Division Commander, 1st Armor Division in Iraq; and Assistant Commanding General, JSOC. Prior to being promoted to brigadier general, Gen. Thomas also served as the JSOC Chief of Staff and Director of Operations. His other formative and key, joint and special operations assignments include: Commander, Joint Task Force – Bravo, Soto Cano, Hondu- ras; Commander, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Savannah, Ga.; and Commander, B Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, Fort Bragg, N.C. He is a graduate of the US Army War College, Carlisle, Penn., and the Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, R.I. Gen. Thomas is a native of Philadelphia, Pa. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and was com- missioned an infantry second lieutenant upon graduation in 1980. LEVERAGING GLOBAL JOINT ASSETS FOR PROACTIVE THREAT DEFEAT General Raymond Thomas III Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) A&M: In light of continuing global regional conflicts creating potential "avenues of action" by ISIS/ISIS-inspired groups/individuals, how do you see USSOCOM's role under a new U.S. Administration being redefined to better protect U.S. interests? GEN Thomas: U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) elements are well placed to address the threats posed by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other like-minded organizations, primarily by working by, with, and, through our international partners and with the Interagency to support the Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs). The training, advice and assistance our forces provide to key countries at risk helps to mitigate, disrupt and prevent threats before they reach the homeland. Under Chairman Dunford's leadership, USSOCOM was designated the Department of Defense (DoD) Coordinating Authority for Counter- ing Transregional Terrorist Organizations (CTTO). As the DoD Coordi- nating Authority, USSOCOM looks across all of the GCCs in order to improve timeliness and to develop a robust range of options for U.S. leadership in the fight to defeat ISIS. Specifically, we developed a global assessment program which is intended to enable DoD to seize emerging opportunities and address challenges with every GCC com- mander simultaneously. This approach continues to enhance our mili- tary's unity of effort to leverage changes in the fight more seamlessly. I anticipate this approach continuing under President Trump and his team, with a renewed emphasis on ensuring we have the right tools and resources we need to fight effectively. Timely and accurate intel- ligence is key to making this approach work, and, therefore, requires a network of partners sharing information across systems that can process and act on it quickly. Ultimately, we want to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other extremist groups to protect our homeland. Taking the fight to them impedes their ability to maintain sanctuaries for training and launching attacks against us. This networked approach will require long-term vigilance with key indigenous partners on the ground leading the charge as well as a focused effort to address the flow of money, people and ideology that fuel groups like ISIS. A&M: What can you tell us about USSOCOM's newly re-defined role in supporting a U.S.-led initiative to counter the proliferation of WMDs? GEN Thomas: On August 5, 2016, the President approved draft Unified Command Plan (UCP) language for a Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) global mission transfer from U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to U.S. Special Operations (USSOCOM). COMMANDER'S CORNER www.tacticaldefensemedia.com 10 | Armor & Mobility | May/June 2017

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