THEATER SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND'S ROLE IN NUCLEAR COUNTERPROLIFERATION
Frossard, Michael J.
Hoyng, Brandon L.
Nixon, Antonio L.
Tullius, John D.
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In the two years since the Unified Command Plan (UCP) was changed to designate U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) as the lead Department of Defense (DoD) synchronizer for all countering weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) plans, tangible progress has been slow. Organizations such as the Pentagon’s Unity of Effort Council and SOCOM’s CWMD Fusion Center are billed on paper as entities that can assist SOCOM in understanding the nuclear counterproliferation problem and help SOCOM plan responses to a WMD event. However, few people within these organizations understand the problem, are connected with the relevant agencies within the U.S. government (USG), and have a clear sense of what needs to occur. Even fewer members of the CWMD community across the interagency (IA) are aware of SOCOM’s efforts. This study analyzes SOCOM’s contribution to the USG nuclear counterproliferation mission and arrives at four conclusions. First, Theater Special Operation Commands (TSOCs) are the best postured in the DoD to contribute to a nuclear CP mission. Second, TSOCs can leverage the experience of Theater Special Operations forces. Third, TSOCs must ensure that their personnel receive basic knowledge of nuclear technologies, proliferation networks, and USG strategy and policy related to nuclear non-proliferation and counterproliferation. Finally, SOCOM must properly integrate personnel within the interagency to properly contribute to ongoing counterproliferation efforts.
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