2009-05-13

World "Regions"

Most school children are taught that there are seven continents. The notion is not without its detractors, as the Wikipedia entry notes: continental regions are "identified by convention rather than adherence to the ideal criterion that each be a discrete landmass, separated by water from others."

But there's little denying the usefulness of this shorthand. For example, speaking of US Special Forces deployments after some draw-downs of troop levels in Iraq, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities Kalev Sepp was reported by Navy Times to have indicated that Special Forces levels might actually increase in Iraq and elsewhere.

He further indicated that areas of expertise might be shifted for some undetermined period of time to meet the particular needs of specific regions. To make this point, Sepp told the National Defense Industrial Association in a February 2009 meeting:

There are five Special Forces groups, ... but there are seven regions of the world to cover. Each of these regions is different, so in preparing for the future, we have to consider a realignment. ... After the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are quelled, we anticipate shifting [Special Forces] from North Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia and the East Asian littoral.

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