What the nation asks of its special operations forces shapes who they are and what they do. Two decades of counterterrorism focus have led to an unbalanced and overused force. How can policymakers and military leaders rebalance the force to meet changing demands and address systemic issues such as its lack of diversity?
This article draws an analogy between special operations and information forces and suggests the history and evolution of SOF could serve as a model and provide lessons for the development of information forces.
A memoir drawn from four decades of experience in the U.S. Army explores the strengths and limitations of America's irregular warfare capability. The author, who often saw success at the tactical level only to be followed by strategic muddling and eventual failure, offers ideas on how to develop a world-class way of irregular war.
How can Army special operations missions be assessed? A new methodology relies on operational, intelligence, and publicly available data, since operational-level special operations commands often lack the staff and resources to generate assessment-level information.
RAND researchers analyzed how political warfare is practiced today and identified ways that the U.S. government, its allies, and its partners can respond to or engage in this type of conflict to achieve U.S. ends and protect U.S. interests.
Amid concerns that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are vulnerable to Russian intimidation and hybrid warfare, a new RAND Corporation report concludes that unconventional defense plans could help deter and counteract Russian aggression.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are vulnerable to low-level, hybrid, and full-scale attacks by Russian forces. Which unconventional strategies could they use to deter aggression and buy time for conventional military responses? And how can NATO allies help develop and fund these efforts?
The personalities of U.S. military services are alive and well. Their unique cultures impact how they compete for resources, authorities, access, and influence. And their competition on the bureaucratic battlefield changes as the environment changes. How might the services react to a sudden change in resource levels or region of focus?
This report addresses challenges for implementing new approaches to Air Force high-demand, high-attrition specialty recruiting, screening, and development processes, and takes a holistic approach to identifying methods to fill gaps in processes.
Both state and nonstate actors—including Russia, Iran, and ISIS—practice political warfare in unique ways. How can the United States, along with its allies and partners, respond to or engage in this type of conflict to protect U.S. interests?
An analysis of U.S. decisions related to the development or use of special operations forces can assist in future planning by the Army Special Operations Forces, the U.S. Army, and the joint special operations community.
The Russian armed forces are not like the Soviet Army in size, depth, or global ideological aspirations. But Russia has demonstrated its military competence and operational flexibility in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria.
RAND Corporation researchers identified three key operational challenges that forward-deployed personnel have encountered and then assessed the extent to which persistent, networked, and distributed operations can mitigate these challenges.
Presents findings from six historical case studies in which the mission of special operations forces in each of the six countries transitioned over time to include some level of inclusion in the U.S. embassy's Security Cooperation Office.
U.S. special operations forces are not providing the muscle of the frontline combat troops fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Instead, they are providing meaningful support to the various indigenous forces. If they succeed, this model could become a standard option in the U.S. military playbook.