A high-ranking U.S. military official says options for sending American special operations forces into Libya are being prepared for senior Defense Department leaders.

During congressional testimony Wednesday, Army Lt. Gen. Tony Thomas says Libya and other parts of Africa where the Islamic State group is spreading require "potentially unique special operations solutions."

He says there are organized groups in Libya that would be affiliated with the fledgling government in Tripoli and could work with U.S. commandos.

Thomas says the government in Libya must succeed for any potential special operations missions to do well there.

Thomas is the commander of the secretive Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He's been nominated to be the top officer at U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.