Following the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, the United States Senate granted the use of all necessary and appropriate force to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the country. As part of this campaign against global terrorism, the United States Department of Defense sought an expanded role for Special Forces soldiers in covert paramilitary operations, a tactical responsibility traditionally within the domain of the CIA. In this Note, the author analyzes the protocol for authorizing covert activity and the ramifications under international law of utilizing formal United States military personnel to conduct such operations. The author suggests that nonuniformed, deniable covert operations should remain with the CIA since the loss of Geneva Convention status by United States Special Forces personnel seems excessive in light of the legal means available for utilizing them in the war on terror.
Wrangling in the Shadows: The Use of United States Special Forces in Covert Military Operations in the War on Terror,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.