The rescue operation is representative of the Obama administration's vision for a "smaller, more agile" military that relies heavily on targeted counterterrorist strikes against enemies, rather than large-scale, costly land invasions, the Associated Press reports. The administration is expected to announce today an increase in investment in special operations force and clandestine operations, which have become critical tools since 9-11.
That’s a strategy much preferred to the land invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost so much American blood and treasure over the past decade. The contrast to a full-bore invasion is stark: A small, daring team storms a pirate encampment on a near-moonless night, kills nine kidnappers and whisks the hostages to safety.
The SEAL mission also helps soften the blow of defense cuts the White House is seeking in spite of a chorus of criticism by hawkish lawmakers. Not to be discounted is the feel-good moment such missions give the American public, a counterbalance to the continued casualties in Afghanistan.
According to The New York Times, Somalia has been considered "out of reach" for conventional military operations for years, although the US has executed several special operations raids like this one out of bases in Somalia's neighboring countries.