Delta Force ‘kill team’ ready to start HVT missions on ISIS in Iraq

Two soldiers from the 2nd Battalion 19th Special Forces Group load equipment into a UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter June 21, 2012. The Black Hawks were loaded with palettes of supplies and were flown over a nearby drop zone where the crew from Detachment 2, Company C, 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment perform low level drops. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr

The Pentagon’s increased reliance on special ops ground forces in the fight against ISIS couldn’t be made any clearer today.

Timing and specifics are not being disclosed for security reasons, but sources tell CNN that several weeks ago the Army’s elite 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), popularly known as Delta Force, was sent into northern Iraq to begin gathering intelligence for future missions in the region.

A few months back, during congressional testimony, Defense Secretary Ash Carter talked about the initial details of the “Expeditionary Targeting Force” which consists of about 200 members– mainly Delta operatives who are “highly trained to operate secretly in hostile environments.”

'Delta Force" is used for hostage rescue and counterterrorism, as well as direct action and reconnaissance against high-value targets. Delta Force and its much more publicized Navy counterpart, the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (or DEVGRU), often referred to as SEAL Team Six, are the United States military's primary counter-terrorism units and fall under the operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command.
‘Delta Force” is used for hostage rescue and counterterrorism, as well as direct action and reconnaissance against high-value targets. Delta Force and its much more publicized Navy counterpart, the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (or DEVGRU), often referred to as SEAL Team Six, are the United States military’s primary counter-terrorism units and fall under the operational control of the Joint Special Operations Command.

Members of the Delta Force have reportedly been spending weeks living covertly — “doing what they do.” They’ve established enough intelligence at this point, according to CNN, to target about half-dozen ISIS HVTs (high-value targets) and perform raids on terror compounds and hideouts.

In the coming weeks, there’s expected to be a “ramp-up” in what they’re doing – as the Pentagon increasingly relies on the Force, on the ground, to go after ISIS.

Secretary Carter said, in December, that this force will also be in a position to conduct operations in Syria, but for now, the ETF is working only in Iraq.  Conducting targeted operations inside Syria is seen as “potentially more risky,” officials say, because there wouldn’t be any local forces on the ground for the U.S. troops to work with.  It’s a different situation in Iraq– where U.S. forces coordinate operations with local Iraqi and Peshmerga units.

Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, has warned all servicemembers not to talk about any mission related details because of security concerns.  Servicemembers who  compromise operations security (OPSEC) are subject to punishment under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

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