Joint Special Operations Command gets new commander

Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen Clark was named the new deputy commander of Joint Special Operations Command on Monday, according to a DOD release. 

Clark is currently the head of plans, programs, requirements and assessments for Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

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Prior to his new position, Clark was the chief of operations for Air Force special operations and served as Special Operations Command's liaison officer to the National Counterterrorism Center. 

He also commanded the Air Force's 4th Special Operations Squadron, 27th Special Operations Wing and has flown combat missions in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Clark's promotion comes as the DOD is looking to expand the role of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and around the world. 

U.S. and Afghan special forces, largely backed up by Afghan army units, will pick up the slack of American soldiers preparing to leave the country this summer. 

American and Afghan special operations units will help spearhead a massive push into insurgent-controlled areas in eastern Afghanistan this spring, near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) chief Gen. John Allen said last Monday. 

Afghan "Kandak" commando units will team up with their U.S. counterparts to carry out village stability operations and "focused task force" missions in areas in and around eastern Afghanistan, Allen said. 

Outside of Afghanistan, the DOD is seeking congressional help in expanding its authorities to conduct counterterrorism operations around the globe. 

"Most of the authorities that we have right now are narrowly construed to counterterrorism ...  [but] I think for some countries we may need a little bit more flexibility to go in there," Michael Sheehan, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told lawmakers last Tuesday.

Once at JSOC, Clark will serve under Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel, who was named command chief on June 10. Votel took the reins of the command from Vice Adm. Bill McRaven. 

McRaven led JSOC during last May's cross-border raid into Pakistan that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden. 

McRaven coordinated the attack, which was launched from Afghanistan and led by units from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, colloquially known as SEAL Team Six. 

He has since been named head of Special Operations Command.