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Old 08-16-2015   #1
Bill Moore
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Default Special Operations Today

Special Operations Today: FSR Interviews LTG Cleveland (Ret.)!lt...interview/c7ay

Our thinking at USASOC is that the security problems of the future will not necessarily resemble those of the past. It is in this context that we feel that SOF forces are uniquely capable, through our persistent global engagement, to shape things well before crises develop. The fact of the matter is, that we are in competition with various state and non-state actors for physical, cognitive, and moral security of populations and increasingly, in this hyperconnected world, the notions of sovereignty and identityĒ. We have to develop a portfolio of new approaches to impose a cost calculus on our adversaries in this space, but first we must recognize and accept that the security paradigm that we grew up with has changed fundamentally.
This is an outstanding interview, while I had my philosophical differences with LTG Cleveland in 2003, he was clearly the right man to lead USASOC and push U.S. ARSOF into the 21st Century. A lot of wisdom throughout this interview.
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Old 08-16-2015   #2
Bill Moore
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Some of they key points:

An emphasis on manipulation of behavior, uses ISIL as example where it is imperative we dominate the influence fight. IMO this points to the importance of the emerging and hotly contested concept of human domain. Yet the fact remains we can dominate the physical domains (space, cyber, land, maritime and air) and still lose the fight the human domain. This is one of the principle changes in the character of warfare that is both tied to ancient history, yet enabled by modern information technology to the point it transforms it relevance, even dominance in modern warfare.

LTG Cleveland discusses the reality of constantly shifting interagency and DOD supported and supporting relationships in response to a question that attempts to limit the military to a traditional stovepipe role of applying conventional military power. The perception by traditionalists couldn't be further away from the truth.

He compares surgical strike (a term that overly limited and doesn't address the unconventional capabilities of our advanced special operations units that focus on direct action) with special warfare. He argues surgical strike is focused on eliminating uncertainty to the extent possible (true enough), while special warfare is conducted in the ever morphing world of uncertainity.

Special Warfare, is one that is defined by uncertainty, and for which we build units such as our Special Forces (or Green Berets) which are specifically designed for this type of operating environment. These teams, with their unique training, linguistic and cultural acuity, are designed to operate amongst indigenous peoples, gain a deep understanding of the environment, shape events, and report back.
He addresses the reality of the so called indirect approach of working through others. In fact, when conditions are not right it won't work no matter how much money and time we plow into it. This approach is not a panacea, it is appropriate when it is, and we need to recognize when it isn't.

What I am afraid of is that often progress is measured by spending a lot of money on equipment and training. You canít spend enough, really, for training on these problems if the government doesnít have the credibility. It doesnít matter what you put on their back, it doesnít matter how much training you give them, you are going to have serious problems when you encounter a serious enemy who is motivated. And so, I guess my concern is that we have to be very careful that we are judging the motivation and addressing the motivation issue and in some cases that means a different kind of policy. How good is that government on governing, and how respected are they by their people? You can only do so much, and you canít fight your way out of bad policy.
He discussed the evolution from Field Manuals to real doctrine for Army SOF (ARSOF) as being essential to facilitate ARSOF achieving the vision laid out for them. ARSOF 2022 is the doctrine, and it is being taught to both SOF and conventional army forces to garner support. This seems to be a major step in the right direction, yes it is a step backwards towards our roots, but it is also a sprint forward to the 21st Century, which has different realities. As he stated,

Time will tell.
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