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 Force, SEAL 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.
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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.
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).
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.
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.