Military Special Operations

  • Testimony

    Counterterrorism and the Role of Special Operations Forces

    Over the long run, the persistent nature of the terrorism threat to the United States suggests that special operations forces should remain a key part of the struggle against al Qa’ida and other Salafi-jihadist groups.

    Apr 8, 2014

  • Blog

    The Foreign Policy Essay: The Limits of Small Footprints

    The history of “small-footprint approaches” should be sobering. It suggests that such approaches are good at preventing allied governments from losing against rebels, but are not very good at actually winning wars.

    Mar 31, 2014

  • Blog

    Train Afghans, Corral Al Qaeda: America's Enduring Mission in Afghanistan

    The mission of preventing al Qaeda from threatening the U.S. is an enduring one that will require a long-term commitment not just to counterterrorism, but to training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces so that they are better able to prosecute their own campaign against terrorists.

    Feb 11, 2014

  • Blog

    Parsing Steve Walt's 'Top 10 Mistakes' About Afghanistan

    Paul Miller takes issue with four of Steve Walt's 10 points in his latest essay that lists President Obama's withdrawal deadline as one of the top 10 biggest mistakes in the war in Afghanistan.

    Feb 10, 2014

  • Blog

    Five Profound Choices Special Ops Face Next Year

    If 2013 was the year of decisions, 2014 will be the year special operations forces implement their roadmap for the future. But where exactly does that road lead? The trajectory will be determined by several budgetary and policy choices that the U.S. military, policymakers and Congress will make in 2014.

    Nov 1, 2013

  • Blog

    How War on Terrorism Has Evolved

    Special operations to capture terrorists are more dangerous than drone strikes, and nimble terrorist adversaries will develop countermeasures to make them even more difficult. But they are politically more acceptable and offer opportunities for intelligence and the visible delivery of justice.

    Oct 24, 2013

  • Blog

    The Future of Counterterrorism: Fewer Drones, More Partnerships

    Drones are just one of three principal U.S. counterterrorism tools. Special Operations forces are now relying on a more balanced mix of tactics: Launching raids and developing partner forces offer more versatility than drone strikes and will probably become the wave of the future as America's big wars wind down.

    Oct 21, 2013

  • Blog

    Robinson Book on Special Ops Earns Plaudits

    Linda Robinson's One Hundred Victories shows how special operations forces are evolving to become the go-to force for military operations worldwide. The author, a senior international policy analyst at RAND, draws from her own on-the-ground reporting and interviews with key players inside the national defense community.

    Oct 17, 2013

  • Report

    One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare

    In One Hundred Victories, acclaimed military expert Linda Robinson shows how the special operations forces are — after a decade of intensive combat operations — evolving to become the go-to force for operations worldwide.

    Oct 8, 2013

  • Report

    Developing and Assessing Options for the Global SOF Network

    U.S. Special Operations Command's Global SOF Network vision calls for a distributed overseas posture for Special Operations Forces (SOF) as part of a new approach to respond to and deter threats. RAND researchers developed implementation options by creating and applying an analytically rigorous methodology.

    Sep 27, 2013

  • Blog

    Surprise! Now What?

    Who is best prepared for responding to surprise: a Navy SEAL, an NFL coach, or a Fortune 500 CEO? The answer is that all three professions have something to teach us: The NFL coach is an expert in pre-planning; the SEAL is great under pressure; and a good CEO has become an expert in responding to strategic threats.

    Aug 27, 2013

  • Blog

    Surprise: Q and A with Dave Baiocchi and D. Steven Fox

    Dealing with surprises is an important part of many professions. The NFL coach prepares by developing a comprehensive response plan for anything that could happen during the game while the Navy SEALs rely on a looser framework that helps them stay alive and achieve their mission objective.

    Aug 14, 2013

  • Research Brief

    The Elements of Surprise: How Professionals Prepare for and Respond to Unexpected Events

    This research brief summarizes the findings of a project that sought to identify common strategies used by practitioners in various professions, from professional sports to Navy SEALs, to respond to unexpected events.

    Aug 14, 2013

  • Report

    Surprise! How Professionals Prepare for and Respond to the Unexpected

    Professionals today are expected to respond to more variables at a faster rate than was the case even a decade ago. What do ambassadors, chief executive officers, military personnel, and physicians believe creates surprise, how do they respond to it, and how can the effects of surprise be mitigated?

    Aug 14, 2013

  • Research Brief

    Creating "Purpose-Driven" Forces: Enhancing the Contributions of U.S. Army National Guard Special Forces

    U.S. Army Special Operations Command wants to enhance the contributions of Army National Guard Special Forces and move toward making them a purpose-driven force, that is, organized and employed to take advantage of their particular experience.

    Apr 10, 2013

  • Blog

    Special Ops Global Whack-a-Mole

    A new model for our nation's special forces could follow the approach used in Colombia and the Philippines, where special forces planned ongoing campaigns that use numerous advisory, civil affairs, and informational activities to address those governments' weaknesses in providing security and ending conflicts.

    Apr 8, 2013

  • Blog

    New 'Rule Book' to Set Parameters for Targeted Killings

    A constrictive rule book against direct-action counterterrorism techniques could be in tension with operational realities. But it would go some way toward establishing the legal and ethical framework under which such difficult decisions are made, writes Patrick Johnston.

    Dec 5, 2012

  • Report

    National Guard Special Forces: Enhancing the Contributions of Reserve Component Army Special Operations Forces

    Analyzes U.S. Army National Guard (ARNG) Special Forces capabilities and studies how they could be put to use in future deployments.

    Nov 6, 2012

  • Research Brief

    The Value and Limitations of Minimalist Stabilization Efforts

    Minimalist stabilizations — small-scale interventions designed to stabilize a partner government engaged in violent conflict — have both utility and limitations. This report proposes policy recommendations to improve the outcomes of such operations.

    Oct 1, 2012

  • Report

    The Uses and Limits of Small-Scale Military Interventions

    Minimalist stabilizations — small-scale interventions designed to stabilize a partner government engaged in violent conflict — have both utility and limitations. This report proposes policy recommendations to improve the outcomes of such operations.

    Sep 27, 2012

  • Topic Synonyms:
  • SO