Current and future U.S. interagency and military efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) throughout the world are thwarted by the complexity of the contemporary global security environment. For brevity, I use the Department of Defense definition of WMD—“chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons or devices capable of a high order of destruction and/or causing mass casualties.” Both the Department of Commerce and U.S. Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) mission priorities are focused on counterterrorism and counterWMD (CWMD). This article examines the pros and cons associated with embedding Commerce Export Enforcement Officers and analysts in each of the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs) in an effort to counter the proliferation of WMD ideas, materials, technologies, and products by state and non-state actors throughout the world. I contend that embedding Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Enforcement Officers and analysts at each of the seven TSOCs would increase the both Department’s CWMD/counterproliferation efforts exponentially, improve interagency collaboration, and provide a useful model for other interagency departments to emulate.
Today’s security environment is complex. The transregional nature and “diverse spectrum of WMD threats” prevent any one agency or department in the U.S. government from attacking the problem alone. In 2014, Secretary
of Defense Chuck Hagel said, “The pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and potential use by actors of concern pose a threat to U.S. national security and peace and stability around the world.” Shortly thereafter the Pentagon ordered the transfer of the Department of Defense’s CWMD Coordinating Authority role from U.S. Strategic Command to SOCOM. The Pentagon recognized SOCOM is uniquely positioned and postured to leverage the breadth of the Defense Department’s CWMD capabilities and resources in a mutually supportive comportment to the interagency’s counterproliferation efforts…
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| About the Author:
Chief Warrant Officer Three Michael W. Parrott serves as a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Technician. He holds a Masters in Strategic Security Studies from National Defense University and a BA in Homeland Security with a concentration in Terrorism Studies from American Military University. His assignments include a myriad of tactical to strategic level assignments within the Special Operations, Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Intelligence communities.