Thom Shanker


Shanker, Thom. "Military Scuttles Strategy Requiring '2-War' Capability." New York Times, 13 Jul. 2001. []

"The United States is abandoning requirements that its military be prepared to fight two major wars simultaneously, according to a classified strategy document. Instead, the new strategy will order the armed forces to 'win decisively' in a single major conflict, defend American territory against new threats and, at the same time, conduct a number of holding actions elsewhere around the globe.... The changes are laid out in a 29-page document known as the 'terms of reference,' which the Pentagon will use to guide specific policy and budget requests for personnel and weapons."


Shanker, Thom. "Study Is Said to Find Overlap in U.S. Counterterror Effort." New York Times, 18 Mar. 2006. []

A study analyzing the effectiveness of Special Operations forces "found 'a tremendous duplication of effort' in the government and military that overlaps with assignments given the Special Operations Command" (SOCOM). The study was conducted by Gen. Wayne A. Downing Jr., a former SOCOM commander and retired four-star general. SOCOM's "new global role in counterterrorism has rankled some officers at the Pentagon and in regional war-fighting commands who previously took charge of that mission. Some of the command's new efforts, in particular the placement of small teams in American embassies to gather intelligence on terrorists and to prepare for potential missions, has outraged some intelligence officers and career diplomats."

[CA/Gen; MI/SpecOps/00s; Terrorism/00s/06]

Shanker, Thom. "U.S. Military Unit to Stay in Philippines." New York Times, 21 Aug. 2009. []

According to Pentagon officials, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will keep the "elite 600-troop counterinsurgency operation," known as the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, "deployed in the Philippines despite pressure to reassign its members to fulfill urgent needs elsewhere such as Afghanistan or Iraq.... Senior officials say the American force and partners in the Central Intelligence Agency were instrumental in successes by the Filipino armed forces in killing and capturing leaders of the militant group Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front."

[CIA/00s/09; MI/SpecOps/00s; OtherCountries/Philippines]

Shanker, Thom. "U.S. Resumes Its Spy Flights Close to China." New York Times, 8 May 2001. []

According to defense officials, U.S. reconnaissance flights off the coast of China were resumed on 6 May 2001 "for the first time since [the] collision on April 1 between a Navy surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet.... An unarmed Air Force RC-135 took off from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, flew its mission in international airspace off China's northeastern coast ... and returned to its base ... without being trailed by Chinese interceptors, officials said."


Shanker, Thom, and Mark Mazzetti. "New Defense Chief Eases Relations Rumsfeld Bruised."  New York Times, 12 Mar. 2007. []

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has set in motion a review of the Pentagon's dealings with the nation's spy agencies to improve cooperation and heal working relationships bruised by his predecessor.... Gates has met with the directors of the various intelligence agencies and asked them to generate an assessment of what is working, and what is not, in the relationships within an intelligence community."


Shanker, Thom, and Eric Schmitt. "Firing Leaflets and Electrons, U.S. Wages Information War."  New York Times, 24 Feb. 2003. []

"[T]he military is starting an ambitious assault [on Iraq] using a growing arsenal of electronic and psychological weapons on the information battlefield. American cyber-warfare experts recently waged an e-mail assault, directed at Iraq's political, military and economic leadership, urging them to break with Saddam Hussein's government. A wave of calls has gone to the private cellphone numbers of specially selected officials inside Iraq, according to leaders at the Pentagon and in the regional Central Command.

"As of last week, more tham eight million leaflets had been dropped over Iraq ... warning Iraqi antiaircraft missile operators that their bunkers will be destroyed if they track or fire at allied warplanes. In the same way, a blunt offer has gone to Iraqi ground troops: surrender and live.... Radio transmitters hauled aloft by Air Force Special Operations EC-130E planes are broadcasting directly to the Iraqi public in Arabic with programs that mimic the program styles of local radio stations and are more sophisticated than the clumsy preachings of previous wartime propaganda efforts."


Shanker, Thom, and Eric Schmitt. "Pentagon Says a Covert Force Hunts Hussein." New York Times, 7 Nov. 2003. []

According to Pentagon and military officials, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top U.S. commender for the Middle East, "has created a covert commando force to hunt Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and key terrorists throughout the region.... Military officers say that focusing the intelligence, and the Special Operations firepower, within one organization, called Task Force 121 [and commanded by an Air Force brigadier general], streamlines the effort to use information on these targets and mount an attack."

[MI/Ops/Iraq; MI/SpecOps]

Shanker, Thom, and Eric Schmitt. "Pentagon Weighs Use of Deception in a Broad Arena." New York Times, 13 Dec. 2004. []

"The Pentagon is engaged in bitter, high-level debate over how far it can and should go in managing or manipulating information to influence opinion abroad, senior Defense Department civilians and military officers say. Such missions, if approved, could take the deceptive techniques endorsed for use on the battlefield to confuse an adversary and adopt them for covert propaganda campaigns aimed at neutral and even allied nations."


Shanker, Thom, and Scott Shane. "Elite Troops Get Expanded Role on Intelligence." New York Times, 8 Mar. 2006. []

"The military is placing small teams of Special Operations troops in a growing number of American embassies to gather intelligence on terrorists in unstable parts of the world and to prepare for potential missions to disrupt, capture or kill them." The Military Liaison Element (MLE) effort "has drawn opposition from traditional intelligence agencies like the C.I.A., where some officials have viewed it as a provocative expansion into what has been their turf." The Special Operations Command (SOCOM) reports to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and "falls outside the orbit controlled by [DNI] John D. Negroponte."

[CA/Gen; MI/SpecOps/00s; Terrorism/00s/06]

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