Secretive Joint Special Operations Command Gets New Leader

February 4, 2021Coffee or Die
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This article was originally published Jan. 28, 2021, on Sandboxx News. Follow Sandboxx News on Instagram

The Pentagon recently announced the new commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

Army Lt. Gen. Bryan P. Fenton will replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Scott Howell.

JSOC contains the military’s Tier 1 special operations units, including Delta ForceSEAL Team 6, the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, and other special mission units that conduct a gamut of special operations, including intelligence collection and operational preparation of the battlefield.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen Bryan P. Fenton speaks to service members at the closing ceremony of Exercise Khaan Quest 2017 at Five Hills Training Area, Mongolia, August 5, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas.

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According to SOCOM, “JSOC prepares assigned, attached, and augmented forces, and when directed, conducts special operations against threats to protect the homeland and U.S. interests abroad.”

Fenton, a Special Forces officer, has served in JSOC and comes from the intelligence side of the house. His last posting there was as the J-3 (operations) officer for the secretive command.

Fenton has served all over the world, including Latin and Central America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

A joint special forces team move together out of a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey Feb. 26, 2018, at Melrose Training Range, New Mexico. At Emerald Warrior, the largest joint and combined special operations exercise, U.S. Special Operations Command forces train to respond to various threats across the spectrum of conflict. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Clayton Cupit)
A joint special forces team move together out of a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey Feb. 26, 2018, at Melrose Training Range, New Mexico. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Clayton Cupit.

He has participated in Operations Joint Forge (Bosnia), Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan/Africa), Iraqi Freedom, and Odyssey Dawn (Libya).

Perhaps what is most important is Fenton’s knowledge and familiarity with the Indo-Pacific area of operations. He has served as the Deputy Commanding General for operations of the 25th Infantry Division, which is based in Hawaii; as operations officer for US Army Pacific; as commander of Special Operations Command Pacific (PACOM); and as deputy commander US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).

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The Pentagon’s decision to pick Fenton for the job is a testament to the Department of Defense’s focus on Great Power Competition, especially against China, which is seen as the more serious long-term threat for US interests.

Fenton’s military education includes: the U.S. Army Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses; Special Forces and Ranger courses; the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; Special Forces Language training (Spanish) and US Army Jump Master & Military Free Fall Schools.

75th Ranger Regiment, Project Galahad
U.S. Army Rangers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, fire at an enemy bunker during Task Force Training on Camp Roberts, Calif., Feb. 1, 2014. Rangers constantly train to maintain their tactical proficiency. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock.

Fenton is the second JSOC commander to come from the intelligence part of JSOC. General William Garrison, who was the first, led JSOC between 1992 and 1994. Garrison, who was highly respected by the troops, led the secretive organization during a tough period that included the Battle of Mogadishu.

Fenton has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. He has also attended negotiation/leadership training at Harvard University Business/Law Schools and served as the 2009 Army Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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Coffee or Die is Black Rifle Coffee Company’s online lifestyle magazine. Launched in June 2018, the magazine covers a variety of topics that generally focus on the people, places, or things that are interesting, entertaining, or informative to America’s coffee drinkers — often going to dangerous or austere locations to report those stories.

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