View all text of Chapter 6 [§ 161 - § 169]

§ 167.
Unified combatant command for special operations forces
(a)
Establishment.—
With the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President, through the Secretary of Defense, shall establish under section 161 of this title a unified combatant command for special operations forces (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “special operations command”). The principal function of the command is to prepare special operations forces to carry out assigned missions.
(b)
Assignment of Forces.—
Unless otherwise directed by the Secretary of Defense, all active and reserve special operations forces of the armed forces stationed in the United States shall be assigned to the special operations command.
(c)
Grade of Commander.—
The commander of the special operations command shall hold the grade of general or, in the case of an officer of the Navy, admiral while serving in that position, without vacating his permanent grade. The commander of such command shall be appointed to that grade by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for service in that position.
(d)
Command of Activity or Mission.—
(1) Unless otherwise directed by the President or the Secretary of Defense, a special operations activity or mission shall be conducted under the command of the commander of the unified combatant command in whose geographic area the activity or mission is to be conducted.
(2) The commander of the special operations command shall exercise command of a selected special operations mission if directed to do so by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
(e)
Authority of Combatant Commander.—
(1) In addition to the authority prescribed in section 164(c) of this title, the commander of the special operations command shall be responsible for, and shall have the authority to conduct, all affairs of such command relating to special operations activities.
(2)
Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, the commander of such command shall be responsible for, and shall have the authority to conduct, the following functions relating to special operations activities (whether or not relating to the special operations command):
(A) Developing strategy, doctrine, and tactics.
(B) Preparing and submitting to the Secretary of Defense program recommendations and budget proposals for special operations forces and for other forces assigned to the special operations command.
(C)
Exercising authority, direction, and control over the expenditure of funds—
(i) for forces assigned to the special operations command; and
(ii) for special operations forces assigned to unified combatant commands other than the special operations command, with respect to all matters covered by paragraph (4) and, with respect to a matter not covered by paragraph (4), to the extent directed by the Secretary of Defense.
(D) Training assigned forces.
(E) Conducting specialized courses of instruction for commissioned and noncommissioned officers.
(F) Validating requirements.
(G) Establishing priorities for requirements.
(H) Ensuring the interoperability of equipment and forces.
(I) Formulating and submitting requirements for intelligence support.
(J) Monitoring the promotions of special operations forces and coordinating with the military departments regarding the assignment, retention, training, professional military education, and special and incentive pays of special operations forces.
(3)
The commander of the special operations command shall be responsible for—
(A) ensuring the combat readiness of forces assigned to the special operations command; and
(B) monitoring the preparedness to carry out assigned missions of special operations forces assigned to unified combatant commands other than the special operations command.
(4)
(A)
The commander of the special operations command shall be responsible for, and shall have the authority to conduct, the following:
(i) Development and acquisition of special operations-peculiar equipment.
(ii) Acquisition of special operations-peculiar material, supplies, and services.
(B) Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense, the commander of the command, in carrying out his functions under subparagraph (A), shall have authority to exercise the functions of the head of an agency under chapter 137 of this title.
(C)
(i)
The staff of the commander shall include a command acquisition executive, who shall be responsible for the overall supervision of acquisition matters for the special operations command. The command acquisition executive shall have the authority to—
(I) negotiate memoranda of agreement with the military departments to carry out the acquisition of equipment, material, supplies, and services described in subparagraph (A) on behalf of the command;(II) supervise the acquisition of equipment, material, supplies, and services described in subparagraph (A), regardless of whether such acquisition is carried out by the command, or by a military department pursuant to a delegation of authority by the command;(III) represent the command in discussions with the military departments regarding acquisition programs for which the command is a customer; and(IV) work with the military departments to ensure that the command is appropriately represented in any joint working group or integrated product team regarding acquisition programs for which the command is a customer.
(ii) The command acquisition executive of the special operations command shall be responsible to the commander for rapidly delivering acquisition solutions to meet validated special operations-peculiar requirements, subordinate to the Defense Acquisition Executive in matters of acquisition, subject to the same oversight as the service acquisition executives, and included on the distribution list for acquisition directives and instructions of the Department of Defense.
(D) The staff of the commander shall include an inspector general who shall conduct internal audits and inspections of purchasing and contracting actions through the special operations command and such other inspector general functions as may be assigned.
(f)
Administrative Chain of Command.—
(1)
Unless otherwise directed by the President, the administrative chain of command to the special operations command runs—
(A) from the President to the Secretary of Defense;
(B) from the Secretary of Defense to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict; and
(C) from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict to the commander of the special operations command.
(2) For purposes of this subsection, administrative chain of command refers to the exercise of authority, direction and control with respect to the special operations-peculiar administration and support of the special operations command, including the readiness and organization of special operations forces, resources and equipment, and civilian personnel. It does not refer to the exercise of authority, direction, and control of operational matters that are subject to the operational chain of command of the commanders of combatant commands or the exercise of authority, direction, and control of personnel, resources, equipment, and other matters that are not special operations-peculiar that are the purview of the armed forces.
(g)
Budget.—
In addition to the activities of a combatant command for which funding may be requested under section 166(b) of this title, the budget proposal of the special operations command shall include requests for funding for—
(1) development and acquisition of special operations-peculiar equipment; and
(2) acquisition of other material, supplies, or services that are peculiar to special operations activities.
(h)
Intelligence and Special Activities.—
This section does not constitute authority to conduct any activity which, if carried out as an intelligence activity by the Department of Defense, would require a notice to the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives under title V of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3091 et seq.).
(i)
Regulations.—
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations for the activities of the special operations command. Such regulations shall include authorization for the commander of such command to provide for operational security of special operations forces and activities.
(j)
Identification of Special Operations Forces.—
(1)
Subject to paragraph (2), for the purposes of this section special operations forces are those forces of the armed forces that—
(A) are identified as core forces or as augmenting forces in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan, Annex E, dated December 17, 1985;
(B) are described in the Terms of Reference and Conceptual Operations Plan for the Joint Special Operations Command, as in effect on April 1, 1986; or
(C) are designated as special operations forces by the Secretary of Defense.
(2) The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of the special operations command, may direct that any force included within the description in paragraph (1)(A) or (1)(B) shall not be considered as a special operations force for the purposes of this section.
(k)
Special Operations Activities.—
For purposes of this section, special operations activities include each of the following insofar as it relates to special operations:
(1) Direct action.
(2) Strategic reconnaissance.
(3) Unconventional warfare.
(4) Foreign internal defense.
(5) Civil affairs.
(6) Military information support operations.
(7) Counterterrorism.
(8) Humanitarian assistance.
(9) Theater search and rescue.
(10) Such other activities as may be specified by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
(l)
Budget Support for Reserve Elements.—
(1) Before the budget proposal for the special operations command for any fiscal year is submitted to the Secretary of Defense, the commander of the command shall consult with the Secretaries of the military departments concerning funding for reserve component special operations units. If the Secretary of a military department does not concur in the recommended level of funding with respect to any such unit that is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary, the commander shall include with the budget proposal submitted to the Secretary of Defense the views of the Secretary of the military department concerning such funding.
(2) Before the budget proposal for a military department for any fiscal year is submitted to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of that military department shall consult with the commander of the special operations command concerning funding for special operations forces in the military personnel budget for a reserve component in that military department. If the commander of that command does not concur in the recommended level of funding with respect to reserve component special operations units, the Secretary shall include with the budget proposal submitted to the Secretary of Defense the views of the commander of that command.
(Added Pub. L. 99–500, § 101(c) [title IX, § 9115(b)(1)], Oct. 18, 1986, 100 Stat. 1783–82, 1783–122, and Pub. L. 99–591, § 101(c) [title IX, § 9115(b)(1)], Oct. 30, 1986, 100 Stat. 3341–82, 3341–122; Pub. L. 99–661, div. A, title XIII, § 1311(b)(1), Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3983; amended Pub. L. 100–180, div. A, title XII, § 1211(d), Dec. 4, 1987, 101 Stat. 1156; Pub. L. 100–456, div. A, title VII, § 712, Sept. 29, 1988, 102 Stat. 1997; Pub. L. 102–88, title VI, § 602(c)(3), Aug. 14, 1991, 105 Stat. 444; Pub. L. 103–337, div. A, title IX, § 925, Oct. 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 2832; Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title VIII, § 810, Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 217; Pub. L. 112–81, div. A, title X, § 1086(1), Dec. 31, 2011, 125 Stat. 1603; Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title IX, § 903, Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 816; Pub. L. 113–291, div. A, title X, § 1071(c)(3), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 3508; Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title IX, § 922(c), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2356.)