WASHINGTON — Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Wednesday ordered the Pentagon’s top civilian overseeing the military’s special operations community to report directly to him, effectively elevating U.S. Special Operations Command to the same level of the Pentagon’s military departments.
The change makes the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict a service secretary-like position responsible for the oversight and advocacy of the military’s special operations forces, said Miller, who is expected to serve in the Defense Department’s top job only about two months.
Miller announced the move during a visit to the Army’s special operations home at Fort Bragg, N.C., his first official visit as defense secretary since he took the job Nov. 9 as former Defense Secretary Mark Esper was fired by President Donald Trump via Twitter.
“This reform will immediately improve agility to the department and the command and will enable us to streamline the information flow, enhance decision-making and more adaptively and adeptly support our commanders and their superb soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines,” Miller said in brief, prepared comments.
Miller said he would prefer to raise the top special operations civilian post to an undersecretary of defense title, but he also said he lacked the authority to do so. Before Wednesday, the person filling that role reported to the defense secretary through the undersecretary of defense for policy, the de facto No. 3 civilian in the Pentagon.