According to administration officials, the Pentagon has put forward a proposal for direct US military training and equipping of Syria’s rebel forces, formally putting the US military in direct contact with rebel fighters.
It’s a first, of sorts. The US is already training and arming Syria’s rebels, of course, but is doing so with the CIA taking the helm. That’s allowed the US to keep the details of the operations secret, but officials have also regularly bragged about the policy.
Having the Pentagon either replace or supplant the CIA efforts would theoretically give the policy more transparency, but seems primarily aimed at escalating the US role in the civil war.
General Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs Chairman, had hinted at seeking Pentagon authority on the matter in recent testimony, saying that the military “knows” it can turn the moderate rebels into a viable fighting force.