Tuberville Questions Defense Leaders About Strategy for Combatting Growing Global Threats

WASHINGTON: Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) questioned the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, Commander of Special Operations, Bryan Fenton, and Commander of Cyber Command, Timothy Haugh during a Senate Armed Services hearing. Senator Tuberville asked the officials about the Department of Defense’s strategy as global threats continue to rise.

Excerpts from Senator Tuberville’s remarks can be found below, and his full remarks can be found on YouTube and Rumble.


TUBERVILLE: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, gentlemen. Thanks for your service. Secretary Maier you’re doing a good job. I’d like to ask you this with all these new conflicts popping up since you’ve taken office.

How has your approach changed and what metrics do you have in place to oversee possibly new threats getting ready to pop up? Have you done anything looking to the future?”

MAIER: “Yeah. Senator Tuberville thanks for the question.

It’s really important because I think the world has only become more complex really over the last couple of years, I think we look at it in a couple different perspectives. We look across the three different mission sets that that SOCOM has. General Fenton already talked about [this]. I’ve already talked about the uptick in crisis response requirements. So, we’re going out the door more often for crisis response. Some of that is because we don’t have as many forces forward, but some of that is because we’re relying on this force more. One of the metrics we’ve taken on board is determining whether this is a blip, as General Fenton said, or a trend. We think this is more likely a trend. So, we’re taking appropriate action to make sure that we’re resourcing it with that idea that the requirement is going to be high and stay high. I think counter terrorism because it is something that the special operations enterprise is being looked to carry more of the burden on that, more of the mission space because the services are moving to integrated deterrence. We need to ensure that every time we’re doing something in counterterrorism, we’re getting as much benefit for some of the other mission sets.

So, if we can do something against Russia while we’re doing a counterterrorism mission, if we do something against China, that’s a twofer for us. That counts more.

And then I think we’ve already talked about the value we see in, if you will, competition and the ability to really have outsized return on investment for limited force deployments. We look at that all the time as a standard metric of, ‘Are we getting that high return on investment?’ If we’re not, in many cases, we’re going to pivot to a different approach or a different TTP tactics, Sir.

So those would be the three main areas I’d look across and they give you a bit of a sampling of how we’re looking at it, Sir.”

SEN. TUBERVILLE: “General Fenton, thank you for your service. 

We’ve had special operators [over the] last 20 years.

Have we lost some of our geographic standards across the country in terms of different locations with special ops?

Because I know, for instance, the 20th Command is in Auburn, Alabama. And they’ve been working different areas, and they normally work the SOUTHCOM area.

So, are we too spread out?”

FENTON: “Well, Senator, first thank you for the work that all the National Guard teammates do in the special operations community. In the case of the 20th group, fantastic. 

What I would say is there has been, as we’ve noted, an increasing demand across the COCOMs for special operations. And in my sense, it is absolutely rightly so. In an era where we want to prevent great power conflict, having special operators out there being part of the fabric of any nation, building capability, teaching them to shoot, move, communicate, sustain, medicate, learn how to do staff training. That starts a relationship, thickens it, and all builds towards partners and allies, preventing that type of peace.

That demand [has] gone up. As has the demand by the world voting for crisis response. So, my sense is, […] the demand [has] gone up, and we’ve adjusted accordingly — through a risk informed approach. But at every given day, everybody, all-hands, total compo, and SOCOM. Active National Guard, reserve, and civilians are absolutely needed on deck.

And each and every time we make that risk informed decision, we’re bringing it back to the Secretary and then we’re moving out because I see those demands continue to go up.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.