Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

Need Authorities for the Gray Zone?: Stop Whining. Instead, Help Yourself to Title 100. Hell, Take Some Title 200 While You're at It

Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

Need Authorities for the Gray Zone?: Stop Whining. Instead, Help Yourself to Title 100. Hell, Take Some Title 200 While You're at It

Article excerpt

As we strive to confront enemies operating in the Gray Zone-the fog-filled twilight zone between war and peace, where state and non-state actors employ threats, coercion, cooption, espionage, sabotage, political and economic pressure, propaganda, cyber tools, clandestine techniques, deniability, the threat of the use of force, and the use of force to advance their political and military agendas-U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) forces are often frustrated by a lack of authorities to act. Short of war and beyond the parameters set by the 2001 Congressional "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" (AUMF) we may judge our Title 10 authorities1 inadequate to the task, or at best a remarkably poor fit.

This article encourages U.S. special operations forces (SOF), and other DOD elements, that are seeking to contain, parry, or otherwise respond to Gray Zone threats to take full advantage of the authorities that do exist within the United States Code. By smartly leveraging the authorities that the special operations community and our interagency partners do have, the United States can, in fact, do a lot.

But to do so will require imagination, vision, stamina, salesmanship, guile and a keen understanding of our interagency partners, their cultures, authorities, and prejudices. Sounds like an environment and a task ready made for special forces types!

Finding Title 100

A close follower of U.S. Code might be saying, "What do you mean? There is no Title 100 in the U.S. Code!" Not to worry, here is how you find this elusive tool box. As a SOF Gray Zone warrior you arrive (more often than not at the U.S. embassy) with a rucksack full of Title 10 authorities. These include the ability to engage with partners, and under most circumstances, to build their capabilities for special operations, combating terrorism, and general ministry of defense management. In some instances, they include execute orders that allow SOF to advise and assist partners in operations, subject to some peacetime (and interagency) constraints. In all cases, they include the right to self-defense, and the defense of U.S. interests when under direct attack.

But Title 10 is not "Title 100:" a powerful combination of authorities attained by blending the authorities of interagency partners. You may love them or you may hate them, but your Central Intelligence Agency brothers and sisters in the Station have a large basket of Title 50 authorities2 that can be brought to bear on many Gray Zone phenomena. These include intelligence collection activities as well as authorities for equipping, training, engaging, advising, and conducting operational actions with partner intelligence, military, and security forces. So far so good-if we can just get along with the Station, we can employ, or help them employ, Title 50.3

Both SOF and the Station are beholden to the Chief of Mission (COM), usually an Ambassador, sometimes, a Charge d'Affaires. Either way, the COM reigns supreme in peacetime, empowered as the President's direct representative to the host nation, and per the Letter of Instructions to Posts, signed by the President, in charge of all U. S. Government (USG) activities, other than "those under the command of an area military commander."4 He or she is also empowered by Title 22, which governs the Department of State (DOS) and describes USG diplomatic responsibilities. These include the management of diplomacy, but also an overarching responsibility for the entirety of the U.S. relationship with the host government in all its dimensions. Continuing our mathematical approach, SOF and the interagency team can now employ Title 72 (Title 50 plus Title 22), with a lot of good will and huge doses of the requisite schmoozing.

Finally, many County Teams today have a representative from the Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, usually known as the Legal Attaché (Legatt), assigned to the Embassy. He or she is there to execute federal law enforcement activities under the guidance provided in Title 28. …

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