Military Special Operations

  • 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

  • Report

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

    A review of commonalities, similarities, and differences between the still-nascent U.S. cyber force and early U.S. special operations forces, conducted in 2010, offers salient lessons for the future direction of U.S. cyber 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

    Blog

    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

    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

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

    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

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

    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

  • A Special Forces Master Mountaineering Course

    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

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

    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

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

  • 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

  • one_hundred_victories_cover

    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

  • IEA

    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

  • A U.S. Navy SEAL hangs on to a pier during a combat swimmer training dive

    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

  • An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter lowers supplies to the deck of the guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto

    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

  • surprised executives

    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

    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

  • Topic Synonyms:
  • SO