Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn, the former commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, is in Israel to counsel the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on their current operations and ahead of an expected ground incursion into Gaza, according to a US official familiar with the matter.
The official would not provide specifics on what type of advice or counsel Glynn would offer, but the official noted that Glynn is able to tap into his decades of experience to offer help with the “big picture” surrounding the conflict in Gaza.
Glynn is currently the deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, helping to lead the service’s efforts to recruit and retain new Marines. He was previously the commander of Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and has significant combat experience in Iraq.
Axios was first to report on Glynn’s role in Israel.
Asked whether Glynn would be advising the Israelis, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby would not confirm Glynn’s position.
Instead, Kirby told reporters Monday that the Biden administration had sent to Israel “a few relevant military officers” who had “the kind of experience that we believe is appropriate to the sorts of operations that Israel is conducting and may conduct int the future.”
Kirby said these officers would also “ask the hard questions, the same hard questions that we’ve been asking of our Israeli counterparts since the beginning.”
The US official said this included questions about how Israel planned to avoid civilian casualties, a number that has soared as the IDF bombards the coastal enclave.
Glynn is not the most senior US officer to visit Israel since the Hamas terror attack on October 7. The commander of US Central Command, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, visited Israel last week and met with senior Israeli military leaders, including Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.
Glynn’s role is separate from the team of special operations forces that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sent to Israel in the days after the Hamas attack. That team was tasked with helping Israel with intelligence and planning related to the hostage rescue efforts.
It is unclear when Glynn arrived in Israel or how long he is expected to stay.
Some context: As CNN previously reported, the US and its allies have urged Israel to be clear about its goals in Gaza if and when it launches a broader operation targeting the coastal enclave.
The US has warned against a prolonged occupation of Gaza and has placed a particular emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties, US and Western officials told CNN.
US officials don’t yet have a clear sense for Israel’s intentions in Gaza and believe it will be difficult for Hamas to be eradicated entirely.
At least publicly, Israeli officials have articulated their plans only in broad strokes, saying that the goal is to eliminate Hamas and its infrastructure.
In private discussions with their Israeli counterparts, officials have not tried to dissuade Israel from moving into Gaza with ground forces, officials said. But they have emphasized that Israel should have clear objectives when it comes to degrading Hamas and seeking to avoid a long-term occupation of the Gaza Strip.