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Thread: Special Warfare, Special Operations and SOF (US) before Trump

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    Default Special Warfare, Special Operations and SOF (US) before Trump

    17 Nov. Washington Post - Shortfalls of Special Operations Command Are Cited.

    ...the expanded effort has not developed as quickly or efficiently as hoped, handicapped in part by the continuing demands of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also by a lack of experience at command headquarters in developing long-range strategic plans and coordinating with other government organizations, say defense officials, military officers and outside analysts...

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    Default Commanders: Special Forces Must Evolve to Meet New Challenges

    12 Jan. American Forces Press Service - Commanders: Special Forces Must Evolve to Meet New Challenges.

    By Samantha L. Quigley
    American Forces Press Service

    SAN DIEGO, Jan. 12, 2006 – Special operations commanders know what is needed to meet the ever-changing challenges facing their forces fighting in the global war on terrorism, a panel of special operations leaders said here yesterday.

    "We've got to field a warrior or technician that is culturally attuned (and) linguistically capable," Navy Capt. Sean Pybus, commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, said. "Those are key requirements in the years to come."

    The panel spoke at WEST 2006, a technology, communication and national security conference co-sponsored by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the U.S. Naval Institute. Army Col. Edward Reeder, deputy commander, 7th Special Forces, agreed with Pybus, adding that interpersonal skills, tactical and technical expertise also are musts.

    "The Special Forces operator needs to be a subject-matter expert in unconventional warfare," he said. "He must thoroughly understand and be competent in the execution of a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations. A Special Forces soldier is physically fit, mentally tough, politically and culturally sensitive to his region of operation ... and lethal when required."

    That expertise, combined with cultural and linguistics training, translates to Special Forces with a special understanding of foreign issues as they apply to the U.S., Hejlik said.

    "They ... understand that when they go to a country that any inappropriate action has a severe and adverse impact on the way that country looks ... at the United States of America," Hejlik said. "They're more mature, they're more experienced, better equipped." Supporting these special operations forces isn't as simple as just basic equipping and training, panel members said. While those elements go a long way in creating the type of forces needed, more specific support systems also are needed.

    Brig. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, commander of Marine Corp Special Operations Command, said communications is the area in which special operations forces "really hurt the most."

    "We always need enhanced capability in comms," he said, noting that as with computers, the best available communications gear becomes obsolete in six months.

    Biometrics -- automated methods for recognizing humans based on intrinsic physical or behavioral traits -- is another support system the panel agreed was needed. It's essential for tracking what the call "individuals of interest."

    "The biometric piece is critical in an unconventional warfare environment," Reeder said. The biometrics system currently used allows for fingerprints to be lifted from debris left in areas where attacks have been launched, he said. Those fingerprints can then be entered into a data base for comparison to others found, thus providing a method for tracking an individual's movements.

    Pybus also voiced his concern about proprietary communications systems. Current systems don't always interface, he explained, and that can hamper the flow of information from one location to another. Communications systems that can talk to each other are essential, he said.

    "We've got to figure this out," Pybus said. "And my opinion is to get away from proprietary ... technology, looking instead to services' open architecture so that we can take those Predator or Raven feeds, present them to the guy in the Humvee so he can make decisions that might save his life and certainly help accomplish his mission."

    Predators and Ravens are unmanned aerial vehicles used to gather information.

    With a combination of the right training and support, special forces will continue to enhance unconventional warfare capabilities to expand the set of options available to policy makers, Reeder said.

    Erik Prince, a founder of Blackwater USA, also participated in the panel discussion. Blackwater USA is a North Carolina-based private military contractor and security firm. The company provides support to "military, government agencies, law enforcement and civilian entities in training, targets and range operations," Prince, a former Navy SEAL, said.

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    Default Special Operations: High Profile, but in Shadow

    29 May NY Times - Special Operations: High Profile, but in Shadow by Thom Shanker.

    Every night in Iraq, American Special Operations forces carry out as many as a dozen raids aimed at terrorist leaders allied with Al Qaeda, other insurgent fighters and militia targets. Their after-action reports are the first thing that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior American commander in Baghdad, reads the next day.

    The missions also are closely watched by senior policy makers in Washington, who differ on whether the small number of elite units should focus on capturing and killing leaders of the group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and foreign fighters in Iraq, or whether the greater threat comes from the Sunni- and Shiite-based insurgency.

    In the shadows of the troop increase ordered by President Bush, Special Operations forces conduct between 6 and 12 missions every night across the country. A vast majority — between 80 percent and 90 percent — are aimed at Qaeda-allied targets, while the rest attack other extremist elements, say senior military officers in Baghdad and Pentagon officials...

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    Default

    Once again, this article raises the (since Vietnam ever-present) question of the appropriate role of policy makers in Washington in determining targeting at the operational and tactical levels. From where I stand, that role ought to be extremely limited. If policy makers and senior, not in theater people are unhappy with Gen Petraeus's results, then they should find somebody else to do the job.

    On a related note, any strong feelings about the appropriate level of involvement for national-level, strategically focused intelligence agencies in Iraq and Afghanistan? Should agencies like CIA be concerned with the Iraq HVI list?

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Default

    Should agencies like CIA be concerned with the Iraq HVI list?
    They already are, to the point where it's like clownshoes.

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    Default The strategy

    One would think having a highly trained and nimble force that can quickly and effectively respond to emerging intelligence concerning high value insurgents/terrorists is a good and needed capability. However, after four plus years of these decaptitation missions has the security situation notably improved or worsened? I have no doubt that these raids are saving lives in the short run (but perhaps putting more lives in danger in the long run, if the IO campaign can't justify them to the Iraqi population), yet the situation continues to worsen, so I think it is appropriate for those in Washington to question (not directing like LBJ did) if our targeting strategy is correct. I too wonder if we're going after the right people. I think it is possible for those close to the fight to be focused on the trees, and it sometimes helps to have a back seat driver looking at a map suggesting alternative routes to the same end point.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    One would think having a highly trained and nimble force that can quickly and effectively respond to emerging intelligence concerning high value insurgents/terrorists is a good and needed capability. However, after four plus years of these decaptitation missions has the security situation notably improved or worsened? I have no doubt that these raids are saving lives in the short run (but perhaps putting more lives in danger in the long run, if the IO campaign can't justify them to the Iraqi population), yet the situation continues to worsen, so I think it is appropriate for those in Washington to question (not directing like LBJ did) if our targeting strategy is correct. I too wonder if we're going after the right people. I think it is possible for those close to the fight to be focused on the trees, and it sometimes helps to have a back seat driver looking at a map suggesting alternative routes to the same end point.
    Excellent points, Bill. The map analogy works well...

    Tom

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    Default Journal of Special Operations Medicine

    Journal of Special Operations Medicine Archive; all issues from Spring 2001 to the present.
    The Journal of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM) is an authorized official military quarterly publication of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. The JSOM is not a publication of the Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA). Our mission is to promote the professional development of Special Operations medical personnel by providing a forum for the examination of the latest advancements in medicine and the history of unconventional warfare medicine.

    Disclosure Statement: The JSOM presents both medical and nonmedical professional information to expand the knowledge of SOF military medical issues and promote collaborative partnerships among services, components, corps, and specialties. It conveys medical service support information and provides a peer-reviewed, quality print medium to encourage dialogue concerning SOF medical initiatives. The views contained herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the Department of Defense. The United States Special Operations Command and the Journal of Special Operations Medicine do not hold themselves responsible for statements or products discussed in the articles. Unless so stated, material in the JSOM does not reflect the endorsement, official attitude, or position of the USSOCOM-SG or of the Editorial Board.

    Content: Content of this publication is not copyrighted. Published works may be reprinted provided credit is given to the JSOM and the authors.

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    Default Special Warfare

    Special Warfare, Nov-Dec 07 (AKO Log-In Required)

    Articles:

    Agile Sustainment
    A special-operations task force in Afghanistan uses innovative methods to overcome a number of logistics challenges.

    Militias: Is There a Role for Them in U.S. Foreign Policy?
    Recognizing the role and the importance of militias could help the U.S. and partner nations deal with problems of security.

    GWOT 2.0: Capitalizing On Experience Gained
    ARSOF can take advantage of experience gained in the GWOT to make future operations efficient and effective.

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    Ranger Medic Handbook 2007
    Historically in warfare, the majority of all combat deaths have occurred prior to a casualty ever receiving advanced trauma management. The execution of the Ranger mission profile in the Global War on Terrorism and our legacy tasks undoubtedly will increase the number of lethal wounds.

    Ranger leaders can significantly reduce the number of Rangers who die of wounds sustained in combat by simply targeting optimal medical capability in close proximity to the point of wounding. Survivability of the traumatized Ranger who sustains a wound in combat is in the hands of the first responding Ranger who puts a pressure dressing or tourniquet and controls the bleeding of his fallen comrade. Directing casualty response management and evacuation is a Ranger leader task; ensuring technical medical competence is a Ranger Medic task.

    A solid foundation has been built for Ranger leaders and medics to be successful in managing casualties in a combat environment. An integrated team response from non-medical personnel and medical providers must be in place to care for the wounded Ranger. The Ranger First Responder, Squad EMT, Ranger Medic Advanced Tactical Practitioner, and Ranger leaders, in essence all Rangers must unite to provide medical care collectively, as a team, without sacrificing the flow and violence of the battle at hand.

    An integrated team approach to casualty response and care will directly translate to the reduction of the died of wounds rate of combat casualties and minimize the turbulence associated with these events in times of crisis. The true success of the Ranger Medical Team will be defined by its ability to complete the mission and greatly reduce preventable combat death. Rangers value honor and reputation more than their lives, and as such will attempt to lay down their own lives in defense of their comrades. The Ranger Medic will do no less.

    I will never leave a fallen comrade…

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    Washington Post, 6 Sep 08: U.S. Teams Weaken Insurgency In Iraq
    .....a novel anti-insurgent operation that plays out nightly in Baghdad and throughout much of Iraq. U.S. intelligence and defense officials credit the operation and its unusual tactics -- involving small, hybrid teams of special forces and intelligence officers -- with the capture of hundreds of suspected terrorists and their supporters in recent months.

    The "fusion cells" are being described as a major factor behind the declining violence in Iraq in recent months. Defense officials say they have been particularly effective against AQI, which has lost 10 senior commanders since June in Baghdad alone, including Uthman.

    Aiding the U.S. effort, the officials say, is the increasing antipathy toward AQI among many ordinary Iraqis, who quickly report new terrorist safe houses as soon as they're established. Fresh tips are channeled to fast-reaction teams that move aggressively against reported terrorist targets -- often multiple times in a single night.

    The rapid strikes are coordinated by the Joint Task Force, a military-led team that includes intelligence and forensic professionals, political analysts, mapping experts, computer specialists piloting unmanned aircraft, and Special Operations troops. After decades of agency rivalries that have undermined coordination on counterterrorism, the task force is enjoying new success in Iraq with its blending of diverse military and intelligence assets to speed up counterterrorism missions.....

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Got a warrant, now take action

    Hopefully the right thread for this.

    Hat tip to al Sahwa blog for this reflective commentary on continuing US and Iraqi SOF actions - when an Iraqi warrant is required before action.

    At the onset of the new year (January 2009), units deployed in Iraq could no longer capture and detain insurgents without a signed warrant from an Iraqi judge. The transition was a painful but necessary process. Collectively, we put our heads together to develop ways to prolong our pressure on the terror network under this new system. Prior to Jan 2009, if we had actionable intelligence on any insurgent, we simply put together a plan and executed it. The exploitation from the detained individual would usually lead us to our next operation. This targeting model became unsustainable post Jan. 2009.
    Link:http://al-sahwa.blogspot.com/2010/04...raq-model.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-20-2010 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Link added 20/4/10, whoops
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Good comments. Often what is sold as "decaptitation" is really much more "kneecapitation" if one really looks at what is going on, targets, effects, etc.

    As to debates of if policy types, Battle Space owners, or SOF leadership should have control of these target lists, the answer is probably all of the above, in a very open targeting forum that is constantly looking at the picture from many levels and perspectives and adjusting accordingly.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default U.S. should continue Special Operations raids in Afghanistan

    This weekend Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, again, ranted in his Washington Post interview about the need to cease special operations raids.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...111404549.html

    It is time the US Government stands up to President Karzai.

    According to reports US SOF have conducted more than 1000 operations over the past year. On more than half of those raids, no shots were fired. Approximately half of these raids resulted in the capture or death of the individual wanted. Less than half of the operations resulted in shots fired. Finally, very few non-combatants were killed as a result of these operations, most due to being co-located with militants- often used as shield by the militants who place no value on the lives of the innocent- and getting caught in the fight,.

    In one week alone the Taliban and other militants kill more than double that number.

    Karzai is aware of these numbers, however, Afghan cabinet members who present hard numbers and evidence to Karzai are discounted or dismissed. In June he forced the resignation of Interior Minister Atmar and National Directorate of Security Minister Saleh after they presented compelling evidence of Haqqani and Taliban involvement regarding the attacks on the peace jirga in Kabul.

    Special Operations raids have removed several Taliban commanders and sub-commanders, resulting in diminished capability of the fighters. Frustration among Taliban commanders is rampant. And the US is remaining silent.

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    Default SOF Detachment Civil Military Operations in Iraq

    SOF Detachment Civil Military Operations in Iraq

    Entry Excerpt:

    SOF Detachment Civil Military Operations in Iraq
    by Shaun A. Reynolds

    Download The Full Article: SOF Detachment Civil Military Operations in Iraq

    “All the air conditioners are gone,” said the interpreter. The Special Forces Operation Detachment-Alpha (ODA) team leader forgoes the niceties that usually accompany the first few minutes of most meetings with Iraqi citizens. “Ask him where the air conditioners went,” he tells the interpreter, maintaining a no-nonsense look at the boy's elementary school principal. The principal, through the interpreter, explains that due to the threat of theft the air conditioning units were removed and locked in storage for the summer months. Despite the locked security gate and posted security guard, the possibility of losing them when school is out of session is too great a risk for the principal. After a few minutes the ODA is led to a locked class room where the units are stored. A quick count by the team leader ensures that all the units are in fact present, two months after he and his team supervised completion of this major school renovation project.

    Download The Full Article: SOF Detachment Civil Military Operations in Iraq

    Captain Shaun Reynolds is a U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer previously assigned to Special Operations Task Force Central, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula as Civil Affairs planner. He is currently assigned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne).



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    Default Going Outside the Wire: Liaising With Special Operation Forces to Rebuild Agriculture

    Going Outside the Wire: Liaising With Special Operation Forces to Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan

    Entry Excerpt:

    Going Outside the Wire: Liaising With Special Operation Forces to Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan
    by Daniel Miller

    Download the Full Article: Going Outside the Wire: Liaising With Special Operation Forces to Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan

    Introducing a paper on agricultural development with a quote from the ancient Chinese war strategist, Sun Tzu, may seem like a novel way to begin, but designing effective rural development programs in the mountains of Afghanistan, where an active Taliban and al-Qa’ida insurgency is still taking place, requires innovative, “out-of-the-box” solutions. Counterinsurgency work must involve not only military operations, but integrated civilian efforts. The civilian efforts include programs sponsored by the host nation, international development/relief and non-governmental organizations, and donor nations.

    Download the Full Article: Going Outside the Wire: Liaising With Special Operation Forces to Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan

    Daniel Miller is an agriculture officer with USAID. He has worked in Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines. He worked in Afghanistan from 2004-2006, spending time in numerous Provincial Reconstruction Teams, and with Special Operations Civil Affairs Teams. He is currently based in the Philippines where he works with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines in the southern island of Mindanao.
    Disclaimer: The information and views presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or the positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. government.




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    Default Latest From Special Warfare

    Latest From Special Warfare

    Entry Excerpt:

    Village Stability Operations: More than Village Defense by Colonel Ty Connett and Colonel Bob Cassidy. The authors explain the critical role that village stability operations play in the International Security Assistance Force's counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

    4th and Long: The Role of Civil Affairs in VSO by Captain Neiman C. Young. When the Soldiers of Company A, 91st Civil Affairs Battalion, deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, they learned to adapt their activities to contribute to village stability operations.

    The Nuts and Bolts of Village Stability Operations by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen N. Rust. An overview of the principles and challenges of village stability operations.

    Taking a Stand: VSO and the Afghan Local Police by Lieutenant Colonel Basicl Catanzaro and Major Kirk Windmueller. Through village stability operations, members of U.S. SOF team with Afghan police to achieve security and stability and pave the way for political and economic improvements.

    The Green Beret Volckmann Program by Colonel Eric P. Wendt. The author proposes a strategy for countering multiregional insurgencies by employing culturally astute SF Soldiers who would serve repetitive rotations to a specific country.

    Regimental Training Facility Brings Unique SOF Resources Together by Major David S. Clukey. A dedicated site at Fort Bliss, Texas, provides realistic pre-mission training for members of special-operations task forces.



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    Default More Special Operations Not the Answer

    More Special Operations Not the Answer

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    Default Special Operations Leaders Outline Budget Concerns

    Special Operations Leaders Outline Budget Concerns

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    Default In Afghanistan, Special Units Do the Dirty Work

    In Afghanistan, Special Units Do the Dirty Work

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