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Iris Gold

Following Operation DESERT STRIKE in 1996, Kuwait agreed to a nearly continuous presence of a US battalion task force in Kuwait. These US Army INTRINSIC ACTION rotations and US Marine Corps EAGER MACE rotations conducted combined training with the Kuwaiti Land Forces and other coalition partners. In addition, Special Operations Forces conducted IRIS GOLD rotations to train and assist other Kuwaiti military units.

Special Operations Command, Central (SOCCENT) forward presence continues with deployments of Iris Gold exercises on a nearly continuous basis. The Iris Gold company provides continuing training to various host nation personnel. The command has established Naval Special Warfare Unit THREE (NSWU-3) in Bahrain to facilitate command and control of all NSW in the Gulf region. SOCCENT has also established two special operations command and control elements (SOCCE) in Bahrain and Kuwait. SOF continues to support embassies within the region through the SOF liaison officer (LNO) program. The LNOs assist the embassies with planning and execution of exercises and provide a forward presence.

Theater exercises combined with the CONUS-based command post exercises and field training exercises Blue Flag, Internal Look and Roving Sands, prepare the SOC for its wartime mission. Developing supporting operational and contingency plans, SOCCENT plays an integral role in the AN/PSS-12 mine detector.

When the Defense Department wanted to increase ground troops without attracting attention during the confrontation with Iraq in 1998, it nearly doubled the number of special operations forces participating in "Iris Gold," the nearly continuous JCET in Kuwait. The 234 US troops then became part of the planned operation against Iraq.

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