James D. Kiras shows how a number of different special operations, in conjunction with more conventional military actions, achieve and sustain strategic effect(s) over time. In particular, he argues that the root of effective special operations lies in understanding the relationship existing between moral and material attrition at the strategic level. He also presents a theoretical framework for understanding how special operations achieve strategic effects using a unique synthesis of strategic theory and case studies. This study shows how the key to understanding how special operations reside in the concept of strategic attrition and in the moral and material nature of strategy. It also highlights major figures such as Carl von Clausewitz, Hans Delbrück, and Mao Zedong, who understood these complexities and were experts in eroding an enemy’s will to fight. These and other examples provide a superb explanation of the complexities of modern strategy and the place of special operations in a war of attrition. This book will be of great interest to all students and scholars with an interest in special forces and of strategic and military studies in general.
special operations and strategy
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This volume undertakes a systematic analysis of the relationship between Special Forces and contemporary strategy, explaining the resurgence of interest in Special Forces, particularly in the West, by exploring their appeal over traditional conventional force options in the current ‘War on Terror’. Special Forces, Terrorism and Strategy comprises four overarching themes: theory and practice command and control culture and technology operations and the ‘War on Terror’. By developing a credible theory about the role of Special Forces in contemporary strategy, Alastair Finlan assesses the changing character of the relationship between conventional forces and Special Forces, illustrating the prominent role of these forces in the ‘War on Terror’. This book will be of great interest to students of strategic studies and military history, as well as for professional military colleges.
British and American commanders first used modern special forces in support of conventional military operations during World War II. Since then, although special ops have featured prominently in popular culture and media coverage of wars, the academic study of irregular warfare has remained as elusive as the practitioners of special operations themselves. This book is the first comprehensive study of the development, application, and value of Anglo-American commando and special forces units during the Second World War. Special forces are intensively trained, specially selected military units performing unconventional and often high-risk missions. In this book, Andrew L. Hargreaves not only describes tactics and operations but also outlines the distinctions between commandos and special forces, traces their evolution during the war, explains how the Anglo-American alliance functioned in the creation and use of these units, looks at their command and control arrangements, evaluates their impact, and assesses their cost-effectiveness. The first real impetus for the creation of British specialist formations came in the desperate summer of 1940 when, having been pushed out of Europe following defeat in France and the Low Countries, Britain began to turn to irregular forces in an effort to wrest back the strategic initiative from the enemy. The development of special forces by the United States was also a direct consequence of defeat. After Pearl Harbor, Hargreaves shows, the Americans found themselves in much the same position as Britain had been in 1940: shocked, outnumbered, and conventionally defeated, they were unable to come to grips with the enemy on a large scale. By the end of the war, a variety of these units had overcome a multitude of evolutionary hurdles and made valuable contributions to practically every theater of operation. In describing how Britain and the United States worked independently and cooperatively to invent and put into practice a fundamentally new way of waging war, this book demonstrates the two nations’ flexibility, adaptability, and ability to innovate during World War II.
Vice Adm. William H. McRaven helped to devise the strategy for how to bring down Osama bin Laden, and commanded the courageous U.S. military unit that carried it out on May 1, 2011, ending one of the greatest manhunts in history. In Spec Ops, a well-organized and deeply researched study, McRaven analyzes eight classic special operations. Six are from WWII: the German commando raid on the Belgian fort Eben Emael (1940); the Italian torpedo attack on the Alexandria harbor (1941); the British commando raid on Nazaire, France (1942); the German glider rescue of Benito Mussolini (1943); the British midget-submarine attack on the Tirpitz (1943); and the U.S. Ranger rescue mission at the Cabanatuan POW camp in the Philippines (1945). The two post-WWII examples are the U.S. Army raid on the Son Tay POW camp in North Vietnam (1970) and the Israeli rescue of the skyjacked hostages in Entebbe, Uganda (1976). McRaven—who commands a U.S. Navy SEAL team—pinpoints six essential principles of “spec ops” success: simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose. For each of the case studies, he provides political and military context, a meticulous reconstruction of the mission itself and an analysis of the operation in relation to his six principles. McRaven deems the Son Tay raid “the best modern example of a successful spec op [which] should be considered textbook material for future missions.” His own book is an instructive textbook that will be closely studied by students of the military arts. Maps, photos.
Dr. Gray examines the currency conversion between tactical behavior and its strategic consequences. All strategy is comprised of tactical actions and Special Operations Forces (SOF) are often tasked with tactical operations with the expectation they will have desired strategic effect. A SOF community seeking to explain its functions needs to be crystal clear in distinguishing between the fundamentally distinctive meanings. If there is confusion about these two concepts-and the author believes there is-then charting a sensible relationship between them is then impossible. The author explains as an example that, "there are no, indeed there cannot be, any 'strategic' troops, forces, or weapons, for the simple reason that all troops, forces, and weapons have strategic meaning, be it ever so slight, or even arguable." This monograph attempts to reinforce the understanding of strategy and tactics by using historical examples where the two have failed each other. In the end, there must be the necessary direction and leadership that provides solid strategic sense so that SOF may achieve the effects needed to advance U.S. policy.
Shows how the mechanics and underlying structure of military strategy works.
“Over the past dozen years special operations forces (SOF) have been one of the few areas of growth and expansion in a number of militaries. This growth and expansion, however, has not been mirrored by a comparable one in academic inquiries into the subject. Special Operations from a Small State Perspective - Future Security Challenges, which contains a wide range of perspectives from both practitioners and academics, makes a unique contribution to the literature and offers fascinating insights into the opportunities provided by and challenges confronting small states such as Swedenin their evolutionary development and use of SOF.” Dr James Kiras, Associate Professor, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, The Air University, Alabama, USA.
This is a unique compilation of up-to-date U.S. Army Special Operations Force documents. Contents - Book 1: Army Special Operations Vision; Book 2: USASOC Strategy 2035; Book 3: 2018 Update to Strategy 2035; Book 4: Overview - Communicating the ARSOF Narrative and Setting the Course to 2035.provide the Nation with the world's most capable Army Special Operations Forces ever. ARSOF Soldiers excel across the broad spectrum of operations in the most demanding, complex and uncertain environments imaginable. We take the fight to the enemies of our Nation. Our success rests upon the invincible will, utmost professionalism and exceptional competence of our highly trained Men and Women. SOF operations are inherently joint, and as the Army's Special Operations capability, we embrace our critical role within USSOCOM for keeping the Nation safe. To meet current and future challenges, we must invest in the best capabilities, optimize our formations for efficiency and effectiveness, and care for our people and their families. We must continue to evolve to maintain our competitive advantage over any adversary. We will enhance our lethality, strengthen alliances and partnerships, refine joint force interoperability, and expand relationships as we employ our capabilities to win both in competition and in open conflict.This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.USASOC 2035 provides facts and details for use by members of the force when communicating the ARSOF narrative in engagements with joint force commanders, interagency partners, and other audiences worldwide. It also provides guidance for the further development of ARSOF institutional and operational capabilities needed to counter future threats across the spectrum of conflict, especially in gray zones between peace and overt war. It presents objectives for developing future capabilities that will move ARSOF from the force of today to the force of tomorrow.For more than 60 years, ARSOF have served at the tip of the spear in defense of the nation. Today, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command represents a force of approximately 33,000 personnel and more than half of the nation's SOF. ARSOF elements consistently fill more than 60 percent of all U.S. SOF deployments worldwide with ARSOF Soldiers deployed in more than 70 countries on any given day of the year, delivering strategic value to the nation through four complementary capabilities - the Pillars of ARSOF Capability: an Indigenous Approach to Operations, Precision Targeting Operations, Developing Understanding and Wielding Influence, and Crisis Response. They are employed throughout the operational spectrum and across all campaign phases, including interagency- or Coalition-led campaigns and operations. Together, the Pillars of ARSOF Capability provide options to shape or prevent outcomes in support of our national interests. These capabilities, coupled with tailorable mission command nodes and scalable force packages that are low-signature and employ a small footprint, are particularly suited for employment in politically sensitive environments.