SPECIAL OPERATIONS: SOCOM Looks for Partners – Here and Abroad

November 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm 3 comments

Money’s Tight but Threats Are Growing

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) may be best known for rescuing pirate captives in and around the Horn of Africa and taking out al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan …

A Green Beret from 7th Special Forces Group inspects a soldier from the 15th Fuerzas Especiales Battalion, at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras during a joint airborne exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven K. Young)

A Green Beret from 7th Special Forces Group inspects a soldier from the 15th Fuerzas Especiales Battalion, at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras before a joint airborne exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven K. Young)

… but that’s only a small part of what the SOF community does, says Adm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command – which oversees the organization, training and equipping of SOF in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

“Our core competency is understanding this human domain,” McRaven, a Navy SEAL, said during a panel discussion at last month’s Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference in Washington. He was referring to understanding the language, culture, history and human networks of any given battle space before operations begin – whether counter insurgency or hostage rescue.

And that competency will be crucial in future conflicts where landpower intersects with the human and cyber domains, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, another member of the panel discussing the human nature of war and its implications for strategic landpower at AUSA. “Human interaction in a complex environment is going to be key to our success in the future,” Odierno said, noting: “I see SOF as the connective tissue between the [local] population and the conventional forces.”

McRaven has been telling audiences that as threats rise globally – but defense funding dwindles in coming years – SOF is going to have to partner with foreign allies, NATO forces and other agencies within the U.S. government like the State Department to accomplish its missions.

“We have limited resources, we have to figure out where we’re going to apply those resources,” McRaven told the Aspen Institute Security Forum in July. But he noted that working with partners is nothing new to SOF. “The larger part of what we do is help build partner capacity,” McRaven told the Aspen, Colorado conference.

A Marine with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command provides security at a landing zone in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand Province. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle McNally)

A Marine with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command provides security at a landing zone in Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand Province.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle McNally)

To read more of this article, go to the Institute of Defense and Government Advancement‘s website.

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Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Africa, Counter Insurgency, Counter Terrorism, National Security and Defense, Pakistan, Skills and Training, Special Operations, Technology, Unconventional Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brittius  |  November 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Brittius.com.

    Reply
    • 2. John M. Doyle  |  November 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

      Thanks Brittius for this and other recent reblogs and likes.

      Reply
      • 3. Brittius  |  November 20, 2013 at 11:42 am

        You’re welcome.

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