The military has unified all of its elite special units under one command by reactivating the Armed Forces of the Philippines Special Operations Command (AFP Socom), a strategy aimed at ensuring the cohesiveness of its specialized units in any given operation.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero reactivated the AFP Socom last Friday at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, which, in effect, deactivated the Army’s Special Operations Command (Socom).
Military Public Affairs Office Chief Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia said that the creation of the AFP Socom brought under one roof and under one command all of the special operations units of the military’s major armed services.
Formerly, the Socom, which is then under the Army, counted the Special Forces Regiment, the Scout Ranger Regiment and the Light Reaction Regiment as its unit-members.
The Light Reaction Regiment, the premier counterterrorism force of the military, had its origin from the Light Reaction Company, which is trained by the United States.
The three specialized units have been absorbed by the AFP Socom, which even included the Special Operations Wing of the Air Force and the Naval Special Operations Group of the Navy.
Guerrero said the activation of the AFP Socom was a result of the lessons the Armed Forces learned from the “Zamboanga City attack” in 2013 and the “Marawi siege in 2017.”
The Zamboanga attack was carried out by members of the Moro National Liberation Front, while the attack of Marawi City was perpetrated by the Islamic State and the local terrorist Maute Group.
“I have personally seen the need for a joint Socom, having been a brigade, division and area commander. In the Eastern Mindanao Command, I saw the need for a single unit that would oversee the proper employment of the different major service special operations forces deployed in the area,” Guerrero said.
“I expect that all of the gaps and challenges we encountered in joint operations involving our SOFs will be addressed with our activation of the AFP Socom. This organizational improvements will ensure that the AFP remains responsive and adaptive to current and emerging challenges in the global security environment,” he added.
The AFP Socom is headed by Maj. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista, who had also commanded the defunct Socom.
“We are all very thankful because our dream of being under one umbrella has been realized. This has been our dream because we know the intricacies and peculiarities of special operations,” Evangelista said.