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WORLD
December 16, 2009 | By Julian E. Barnes
The U.S. military command has quietly shifted and intensified the mission of clandestine special operations forces in Afghanistan, senior officials said, targeting key figures within the Taliban, rather than almost exclusively hunting Al Qaeda leaders. As a result of orders from Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, the special operations teams are focusing more on killing militants, capturing them or, whenever possible, persuading them to turn against the Taliban-led insurgency.
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WORLD
March 7, 2014 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - Amid a surge of Islamic militancy in North Africa, a team of fewer than 50 U.S. special operations troops with a single helicopter arrived at a remote base in western Tunisia last month. Their mission: train Tunisian troops in counter-terrorism tactics. The operation was one of dozens of U.S. military deployments in Africa over the last year, often to tiny and temporary outposts. The goal is to leverage American military expertise against an arc of growing instability in North Africa and many sub-Saharan countries, from Mali in the west to Somalia in the east.
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WORLD
June 29, 2010 | By David S. Cloud and Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times
U.S. special operations troops in Afghanistan have stepped up a campaign to kill or capture insurgent leaders, senior U.S. officials say, an effort that began in March and is likely to expand as Army Gen. David H. Petraeus looks for ways to show progress. Senior U.S. military officials said the raids by special operations troops have killed or captured 186 insurgent leaders and detained an additional 925 lower-level fighters in the last 110 days. That would mark a rare success for American troops in a war that has otherwise gone poorly in recent months.
WORLD
June 21, 2013 | By David S. Cloud and Raja Abdulrahim, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have been secretly training Syrian rebels with anti-tank and antiaircraft weapons since late last year, months before President Obama approved plans to begin directly arming them, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders. The covert U.S. training at bases in Jordan and Turkey, along with Obama's decision this month to supply arms and ammunition to the rebels, has raised hope among the beleaguered Syrian opposition that Washington ultimately will provide heavier weapons as well.
NATIONAL
November 2, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
The Pentagon announced the creation of a new force of about 2,600 Marines intended to address a shortage of elite troops available for anti-terrorist operations and other missions requiring exceptional skills. But in a marked departure for the fiercely self-reliant corps, the new contingent will report not to the Marine leadership but to the multi-service command responsible for other Special Operations troops from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
NEWS
September 23, 2001 | EDMUND SANDERS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Bush administration, confronted with a stealthy enemy in unforgiving terrain, is embarking on the biggest mobilization of the military's elite special operations units since the Vietnam War, experts say. If successful, the use of these soldiers--highly trained in sabotage, kidnapping and guerrilla warfare--could significantly bolster the role of special operations in future U.S. military strategy, some experts add.
WORLD
March 7, 2014 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - Amid a surge of Islamic militancy in North Africa, a team of fewer than 50 U.S. special operations troops with a single helicopter arrived at a remote base in western Tunisia last month. Their mission: train Tunisian troops in counter-terrorism tactics. The operation was one of dozens of U.S. military deployments in Africa over the last year, often to tiny and temporary outposts. The goal is to leverage American military expertise against an arc of growing instability in North Africa and many sub-Saharan countries, from Mali in the west to Somalia in the east.
WORLD
May 4, 2012 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A top U.S. commander is seeking authority to expand clandestine operations against militants and insurgencies around the globe, a sign of shifting Pentagon tactics and priorities after a grueling decade of large-scale wars. Adm. William H. McRaven, a Navy SEAL and commander of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has developed plans that would provide far-reaching new powers to make special operations units "the force of choice" against "emerging threats" over the next decade, internal Defense Department documents show.
OPINION
June 22, 2003 | William M. Arkin, William M. Arkin is a military affairs analyst who writes regularly for Opinion. E-mail: warkin@igc.org.
They rescued Jessica Lynch, helped to capture Iraqi leaders, secured oil fields, stopped saboteurs from flooding the Karbala Gap, worked with Kurdish guerrillas and Shiite opponents and positioned themselves to stop Saddam Hussein from firing missiles at Israel or perhaps using weapons of mass destruction.
WORLD
August 29, 2012 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon and CIA are reviewing a forthcoming book by a retired Navy SEAL who was on the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and they are considering legal action against the author for failing to submit his account for security review, officials said. U.S. intelligence officials are scrutinizing "No Easy Day" by former SEAL Matt Bissonnette to see if it reveals sensitive sources and techniques or operational details, a process that could take weeks. The book, due to go on sale next week and already on bestseller lists, has sparked a fierce debate in the close-knit special operations community about whether the long-standing ethic to stay silent for those who carry out America's most sensitive military operations is breaking down after a decade of war. PHOTOS: The death of Osama bin Laden Several U.S. officials who have read the book said it apparently does not quote from clearly classified documents, such as intelligence reports about Bin Laden's whereabouts or after-action reports about the raid.
WORLD
March 5, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Hashmat Baktash and David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
MAIDAN SHAHR, Afghanistan - The story was gruesome: A university student, captured in a U.S. special forces raid, was found decapitated and with his fingers sliced off. Amid a groundswell of public anger, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office cited that incident, as well as reports that nine villagers had been abducted from their homes, when he decided last week to bar the elite U.S. troops from a volatile province at the doorstep of Kabul, a...
NATIONAL
December 19, 2012 | By Kim Murphy
SEATTLE -- The commanders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have decided to refer the case against Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for a general court-martial on charges that he murdered 16 civilians in a late-night shooting rampage outside a remote Army outpost in southern Afghanistan. Army officials also announced they would seek the death penalty against Bales, a veteran of four combat deployments who is also charged with wounding six other civilians after a night of drinking on top of steroid use at what defense lawyers say was a dysfunctional special operations outpost.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2012 | By Julie Makinen
The Pentagon is stepping up its rhetorical support for Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers amid media reports that he is under investigation for improperly disclosing classified information to the filmmakers of "Zero Dark Thirty," a new film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. "There is a pending inspector general investigation involving Undersecretary Vickers, and the IG will and should reach her own conclusions," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement released late Tuesday.
WORLD
September 2, 2012 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - American special operations forces have suspended the training of new recruits to an Afghan village militia until the entire 16,000-member force can be rescreened for possible links to the insurgency, U.S. officials said Sunday. The move is the latest repercussion from a series of "insider" shootings carried out by members of the Afghan police and army against Western troops. Forty-five NATO service members have been killed in such attacks this year, and the U.S. toll in August alone was 12 dead.
WORLD
August 29, 2012 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon and CIA are reviewing a forthcoming book by a retired Navy SEAL who was on the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and they are considering legal action against the author for failing to submit his account for security review, officials said. U.S. intelligence officials are scrutinizing "No Easy Day" by former SEAL Matt Bissonnette to see if it reveals sensitive sources and techniques or operational details, a process that could take weeks. The book, due to go on sale next week and already on bestseller lists, has sparked a fierce debate in the close-knit special operations community about whether the long-standing ethic to stay silent for those who carry out America's most sensitive military operations is breaking down after a decade of war. PHOTOS: The death of Osama bin Laden Several U.S. officials who have read the book said it apparently does not quote from clearly classified documents, such as intelligence reports about Bin Laden's whereabouts or after-action reports about the raid.
WORLD
May 4, 2012 | By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - A top U.S. commander is seeking authority to expand clandestine operations against militants and insurgencies around the globe, a sign of shifting Pentagon tactics and priorities after a grueling decade of large-scale wars. Adm. William H. McRaven, a Navy SEAL and commander of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, has developed plans that would provide far-reaching new powers to make special operations units "the force of choice" against "emerging threats" over the next decade, internal Defense Department documents show.
WORLD
March 15, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Weapons stolen from a Brazilian army barracks in a theft that triggered a massive search of Rio de Janeiro's crime-infested shantytowns have been found, military officials said. Police gave no further details about the weapons, which prompted about 200 soldiers and special operations police to seal off entrances to Rocinha, a slum overlooking the capital.
NEWS
May 6, 2011 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
Buoyant after talking with the assault force that killed the world's most wanted terrorist, President Obama on Friday declared to a hangar full of cheering soldiers that Osama bin Laden's death is proof the U.S. is making progress in Afghanistan and that the mission will ultimately be successful. "We have cut off their head," Obama said, "and we will ultimately defeat them. " The declaration drew thunderous applause from the 2,300 soldiers, gathered to hear from the president and pay tribute to Army comrades who flew the helicopters that lowered the Navy SEALs and other special operations teams that carried out the raid last Sunday.
OPINION
February 19, 2012 | By Andrew J. Bacevich
Well into the second decade of what the Pentagon calls an "era of persistent conflict," many Americans have lost the thread of a war that appears increasingly fragmented and diffuse. On the one hand, the U.S. militaryhas withdrawn from Iraq without achieving victory, and it's trying to leave Afghanistan, where events seem equally unlikely to yield a happy outcome. On the other hand - in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere - U.S. forces have been busily opening new fronts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
It seems as if Darrik Benson, 28, had always wanted to be a Navy SEAL. There was no real logic to it. His father was not a military man. His grandfather was, but he was a pilot, serving with the Army during World War II. Benson grew up inland in Angwin, a small community at the northern end of the Napa Valley. He also hated the water. His grandmother remembers seeing the boy standing beside her backyard pool when he was 4 years old. He just stared at the other kids, she said, unwilling to take a dip. "He didn't want to get in over his belly button," Claudia Benson said.
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