U.S. Special Operations Command has posted an ad that they're looking to hire 25 civilian actors to provide "role player support," pretending to be terrorists in a special Marine Corps training exercise. The job announcement inadvertently reveals some clues about national security.
As military analyst Joseph Trevithick observes, we don't know where the Marines are heading or what their actual mission will be. However, this training likely reflects what the Marines might be expected to do at some point in the near future.
And that's what makes the specific requirements for the "role player support" particularly interesting. While some of the actors will play "lower level bad guys," two others will be stand ins for "high value insurgents" (HVIs)—which means they're terrorist leaders or individuals with specialized skills and knowledge. Indeed, one of these fake HVIs will be a member of Al Qaeda while the other is required to be fluent in French and have a college education in chemistry.
If French is required for this training simulation, then the likely target area is the Levant, where French is still widely spoken. And if expertise in chemistry is required, then that increases the likelihood the the training exercise concerns Syria, which is located in that region and has used chemical weapons.
Although Syria has agreed to dismantle its chemical arsenal, the international effort has suffered numerous delays. As such, it's not unreasonable to infer that the U.S. government is training special forces to keep chemical weapons out of terrorist hands if Syria should collapse, or if the civil war spreads into neighboring countries, such as Jordan.
The Marines "will no doubt make good use of the realistic training whatever their mission turns out to be," says Trevithick. "We'll just have to wait and see if the Marines end up tracking down an Al Qaeda leader and a rogue francophone chemist."