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US Special Operations Forces - Future Plans

This is a discussion on US Special Operations Forces - Future Plans within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; There is a interesting article by Robert Martinage from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) on US Special ...


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Old March 23rd, 2009   #1
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US Special Operations Forces - Future Plans

There is a interesting article by Robert Martinage from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) on US Special Operations Forces: Future Challenges and Opportunities and even a pdf version of a powerpoint presentation on the same topic. There is an attempt to reorient US SOF from Central Command (CENTCOM) towards a more global focus which includes the following:
(i) establish a Joint Irregular Warfare Command to create a better balance between direct and indirect approaches to special operations;

(ii) reorient the regional focus of SOF units to concentrate more attention where it is most needed;

(iii) recapitalize and expand both fixed‐ and rotary‐wing SOF aviation;

(iv) expand SOF unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capacity; and

(v) expand Civil Affairs & PSYOPS capacity.
Ultimately, this will change US SOF deployment patterns and function. Interestingly, there is no overwhelming emphasis on direct action (which is really a narrow focus on killing and destroying terrorist camps) but rather a more holistic approach to the problem of the "War on Terror". This means that the US SOF will reorient geographically to focus more resources were they are most needed: the so called 'Muslim World' and Asia. One of their stated goals is to maintain focus on foreign internal defense and partner capacity‐building.

In fact, the three strategic challenges are likely to characterize the future security environment identified are:
(i) continuation and possible intensification of violent Islamic radicalism;

(ii) potential rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as a more aggressive military competitor; and

(iii) global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and nuclear weapons in particular.
Questions:
(i) Is this a good inclusive plan?

(ii) What are the implications for other countries and their military?
I hope to have a informed discussion on this thread, if possible. I would request that if you intend to make a comment, to please, please read the links provided, rather than jumping right in.

Note: I DO NOT welcome dogmatic anti-China comments based on unreliable sources and materials. I am specifically referring to Flyman. Your biased and dogmatic anti-China posts are not welcome in this thread.

Last edited by OPSSG; March 24th, 2009 at 12:01 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #2
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First of all, I enjoyed the article. I will try to outline my rough and sketchy ideas and thoughts concerning it. I might later elaborate them. It would be also important to discuss in the perceived strategic challanges of the USA and the connection between the politik and the means outlined in the article.



Overview

The USA has a intricate and complex web of competing and cooperating organisations with a large sets of issues. Just think about the controvery after 9/11, where the CIA, NASA and FBI. One intrinsic aspect of such organisations in the context of the wider whole is that they try to expend their power, capabilities and functions. This results often in overlapping competences and conflict. The CIA for example has "direct actions" units and the SF command has some Civil Affairs & PSYOPS capacity. To some extent this fuzzy interactions driven by personal and organisational initiatives mirror the strenghts and weaknesses of a liberal democracy.



Questions



Is this a good inclusive plan?


I think that the general tendency is good, however I wonder if it is the best way to create a functional mean to deal with current and future problems.


a) A merry mess of organisations

First of all I think that the integration and cooperation between the existing organisations is key to effective and efficient operations. Perhaps most important in this regard is the way the CIA and USSOCOM work together. How can they pool effectively their ressources and capabilities?

The plan shifts partly the focus of USSOCOM on the messy "politikal" side and on fuzzy "indirect" actions. Given the relative small size of the organisation and the wide, complex and unique tasks it should result in a relative open-minded and flexible group of people suited for a lot different operations. So the nature of it would enforce a lot of learning and contact with different cultures and persons.


b) Strategic and operational alignment

How do the organisations align themselves in a way to be able to handle the strategic and tactical challanges? Roughly divided there are two aspects, the overall strategic alignment in organisation and preparation and the operational alignment and cooperation.

The plan would perhaps allow to have a functional operational unit of C&C. Potentially a nucleus of SOF guys could act without much influx of external (CIA) actors on a low level. Overall in the operation a close cooperation between CIA and SOCOM is of course a must.


Perhaps I will continue later.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #3
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Originally Posted by NY times
Taliban Seize Vital Pakistan Area Closer to the Capital

April 22, 2009 - Pushing deeper into Pakistan, Taliban militants have established effective control of a strategically important district just 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, officials and residents said Wednesday.

The fall of the district, Buner (pronounced boo-NAIR), did not mean that the Taliban could imminently threaten Islamabad. But it was another indication of the gathering strength of the insurgency and it raised new alarm about the ability of the government to fend off an unrelenting Taliban advance toward the heart of Pakistan. Buner, home to about one million people, is a gateway to a major Pakistani city, Mardan, the second largest in North-West Frontier Province, after Peshawar...

The takeover of Buner is particularly significant because the people there have tried in the past year to stand up to the Taliban by establishing small private armies to fight the militants. Last year when the militants encroached into Buner, killing policemen, the local people fought back and forced the militants out.

But with a beachhead in neighboring Swat, and a number of training camps for fresh recruits, the Taliban were able to carry out what amounted to an invasion of Buner. “The training camps will provide waves of men coming into Buner,” the senior law enforcement official said. The Taliban expansion into Buner has begun to raise alarm among the senior ranks of the Pakistani Army, said a Western official who was familiar with the Pakistani military...

The Taliban have set up checkpoints in a number of villages in Buner, intimidating policemen and forcing them into their police stations, residents in Daggar said by telephone. The militants were patrolling the bazaar in Daggar, residents said. Women, who used to move freely around the bazaars, were scarcely to be seen, they said. Those who did venture out were totally covered...
With the fall of the Buner Valley in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan the forces of violent Islamic radicalism have immediately presented three strategic challenges to the current security environment identified in the paper. The three strategic challenges are again set out below for your ease of reference:
(i) continuation and possible intensification of violent Islamic radicalism;

(ii) potential rise of the PRC; and

(iii) the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons if Pakistan fails.
In fact, in 2007 BBC reported that Chinese workers have also been targeted for attacks in Pakistan. I think the prevailing US concept of the PRC as a military competitor fails to address the tremendous commonality in interests between the two states. This approach may miss the mark on the scope for cooperation, as both countries have a common interest in enabling a stable Pakistan.

Last edited by OPSSG; April 23rd, 2009 at 06:42 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #4
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The rapid ascension of the Taliban in Pakistan seems to be one of the most important and dangerous events in the history of the early 21th century. We should devot a specific thread to it. The NYT has covered it in the last years, but now ascension seems to get a fearsome dynamic and great momentum. As I posted before the political leadership seems to be unable to even just contain the rise of the extremists.


A interesting video

.

It tells of course only a part of the story.
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