Military Special Operations

  • U.S. Army Soldiers run to UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters after conducting a search for weapons caches in Albu Issa, Iraq, March 2008

    Event

    Lessons from 13 Years of War

    During the past 13 years of war, U.S. conventional and special operations forces worked more closely together than in any previous conflict. Linda Robinson will discuss how special operations forces can be applied in Iraq and Syria and how the U.S. can apply the broad lessons of these years to a future strategy.

    Dec 10, 2014

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    Multimedia

    Lessons from 13 Years of War

    In this podcast, Linda Robinson discusses how U.S. conventional and special operations forces have worked closely together during the past 13 years and how special operations forces could be used in current conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

    Dec 10, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Lessons from 13 Years of War Point to a Better U.S. Strategy

    This brief summarizes seven lessons from the past 13 years of war and identifies critical requirements for land forces, special operations forces, and partners to collaborate successfully.

    Dec 10, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Special Warfare: The Missing Middle in U.S. Coercive Options

    In the face of adversaries exploiting regional social divisions by using special operations forces and intelligence services, and dwindling American appetite for intervention, the United States needs to employ a more sophisticated form of special warfare to secure its interests.

    Dec 8, 2014

  • Multimedia

    Using Network Analysis Methods to Support the Global SOF Network

    This video explores how network analysis metrics -- in particular

    Nov 13, 2014

  • Multimedia

    SOF Partner Assessment: Introduction to Country Characteristics

    Part one of a four-part video series describes the use of consistent metrics to assess countries' political attractiveness and reliability as partners in the U.S. Special Operations Command's proposed Global Special Operations Forces (SOF) Network.

    Nov 13, 2014

  • Scouts pull overwatch at the Chowkay Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan in 2006

    Blog

    7 Lessons from 13 Years of War

    RAND senior international policy analyst Linda Robinson addressed the annual Army USA Conference in Washington to present new research that distills lessons learned from the U.S. experience in the last 13 years of war.

    Oct 16, 2014

  • CH-47 Chinook helicopters land outside of the village of Abd al Hasan, Iraq, to pick up U.S. and Iraqi Army Soldiers

    Report

    Lessons from Past 13 Years of War Can Improve Future Strategy

    Lessons from the past 13 years of war provide insight into the future operating environment and identify critical requirements for land and special operations forces to collaborate successfully with various partners in future conflicts.

    Oct 14, 2014

  • An exercise at the Joint Cyber Control Center

    Report

    The Other Quiet Professionals: Lessons for Future Cyber Forces from the Evolution of Special Forces

    Both special operations forces and cyber forces are small teams of highly skilled specialists, and both communities value skilled personnel above all else. What lessons can be drawn from a review of the commonalities, similarities, and differences between U.S. cyber forces and early U.S. special forces?

    Oct 3, 2014

  • Capt. James T. Jones, commanding officer of the USS Shiloh, greets Rear Adm. Zhang Wendan of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy

    Multimedia

    China: The Reluctant Partner

    There's a high probability that the establishment of a U.S. Global SOF Network will reinforce Beijing's extreme insecurities about Washington's intentions towards China, and heighten Chinese perceptions of enhanced U.S. military encirclement capabilities. However, if China is invited to partner with U.S. Special Operations Forces, this may alter Chinese thinking on military cooperation.

    Jul 30, 2014

  • Protesters outside Nigeria's parliament demand security forces search harder for the 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram

    Commentary

    The Risks of Rescue

    As appealing as a successful mission to rescue the 200 school girls held hostage by Boko Haram in Nigeria might appear, the use of U.S. military assets to mount a rescue attempt would be a mistake.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • Report

    Authorities and Options for Funding USSOCOM Operations

    This report examines mechanisms, sources, and inter-Service agreements for funding special operations forces (SOF) operations and provides recommendations to reduce the frequency and duration of disputes over funding responsibilities for SOF.

    Jun 3, 2014

  • Al Qaeda fighters celebrate on vehicles taken from Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, March 20, 2014

    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

  • Philippine and U.S. marine soldiers in a joint military exercise in Ulugan bay, Philippines

    Commentary

    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

  • Afghan Uniformed Police and Afghan Border Police leading a presence patrol

    Commentary

    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

  • Pararescuemen secure the area after being lowered from an HH-60 Pave Hawk during a mission in Afghanistan

    Commentary

    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

  • A Special Forces Master Mountaineering Course

    Commentary

    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

  • People hold posters of senior al Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby during a demonstration over his capture by U.S. authorities

    Commentary

    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

  • The opening of the 1st Afghan National Army Special Operations Brigade, Aug. 20, 2013

    Commentary

    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

  • Cover of Linda Robinson's book One Hundred Victories

    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

  • Topic Synonyms:
  • SO