U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is about to name Michael A. Sheehan as deputy to oversee special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities.

Colonel Sheehan has a long track record of targeted killings. He rose to fame serving with the U.S. Army in Panama and El Salvador, and later as a UN blue helmet in Somalia and Haiti. Back to civilian life, he was appointed roving counterterrorism ambassador, followed by a senior peacekeeping role at the U.N.

A potential deputy to Sheenan is Mark Lippert, former military adviser to Senator Barack Obama who became the President’s deputy national security adviser. His resignation from his White House job to return to active duty in the U.S. Navy has kept Mr. Lippert away from the corridors of power for over one year.

John Nagl might also be joining the team. Colonel Nagl is one of a number of counterinsurgency writers associated with General David Petraeus. Currently, he is President of the Center for a New American Security.

The functions of Deputy Secretary of Defense for special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities principally involve the planification of secret commando missions and drone attacks, aiming to assassinate "military targets" anywhere in the world.

Outdoing his predecessors, Obama has increased the military budget to a new high and escalated the number of "black missions". They currently operate in 75 countries (up from 60 under the Bush administration), killing all around being a low-cost way of snuffing out resistance to imperialism.


 "Targeted killings" increase under Obama", Voltaire Network, 6 June 2010.
 On the issue of targeted killings in the context of counter-insurgency operations, read article in Réseau Voltaire: « Opération Phénix », by Arthur Lepic, 16 November 2004.