LTG Austin Miller, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 during his confirmation hearing for assignment as commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
LTG Austin Miller has had previous tours in Afghanistan totaling about 4 years – so he is an experienced “Afghan hand”. His previous tours include time with ‘Task Force’ as well as commander of Combined Forces Joint Special Operations Command – Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) and later of NATO Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (NSOCC-A).
During the visit to capitol hill Miller answered a lot of questions posed by the senators. These ranged from “Why are we in Afghanistan?” to “How long will we be there”. For the most part, there were no ‘surprise answers’ – with Miller carefully staying on the DoD ‘message’ we have been hearing over the past several years.
His son, a second lieutenant serving with the 82nd Airborne Division, sat in the hearings in a row behind him. LTG Miller indicated during the hearing that he never thought that his son would be in a position to deploy to Afghanistan.
LTG Miller was candid when speaking about the effectiveness of counterterrorism operations. He indicated that CT operations have a disrupting effect on insurgents and terrorists but these effects are ‘fleeting’. More important is the ‘train, advise, and assist’ mission in Afghanistan which endeavors to get the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) up to speed and able to regain territory lost to the Taliban and to get after the other terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda that are in sanctuary areas in Afghanistan.
Naturally, there was a ‘partisan flavor’ to the hearings. Democrats and Republicans alike were complimentary of LTG Miller’s background, experience, and service. The Democrats did manage to take an opportunity to question the current administration’s policies in Afghanistan.
Testimony video: You can watch LTG Austin Miller’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee at the link below. The 1 1/2 hour-long testimony begins at the 15 minute mark.