Special Operations Forces

  • Commercial Book

    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


    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


    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


    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

    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

  • surprised executives


    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

    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

  • coalition forces in Afghanistan


    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 7, 2013

  • As seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Army soldiers move through grasses to an overwatch position in Sabari, Khowst province, Afghanistan


    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

  • khost,air-assault,Operation Champion Sword,Afghanistan

    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

  • Philippines,SMEE,MARSOC,Marine,JSOTF-P,Basilan,Navy,Unclassified


    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

  • Dissertation


    Understanding and Engaging the Muslims of the Southern Philippines

    Explores and compares how members of the US military, Philippine military and police, and populace of Mindanao understand Islamic beliefs and values.

    Aug 10, 2012

  • Report


    Building Partner Health Capacity with U.S. Military Forces: Enhancing AFSOC Health Engagement Missions

    Planning for, assessing, and enhancing the effectiveness of missions to build health capacity in partner nations -- how U.S. military forces can assist in this important effort.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • Free Syrian Army members raise an opposition flag on top of a damaged building in Al-Rasten, near Homs, Syria, July 27, 2012


    The Case for Expanding Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

    What is important for the U.S. government to do at this stage is forge relationships with those likely to next govern Syria. The United States should up its assistance to the rebels, providing military assets needed for success that only the United States possesses in adequate number.

    Aug 1, 2012

  • Testimony


    The Case for Expanding Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

    The U.S. and its European allies have a strong interest in Assad's fall, largely due to that regime's alignment with Iran. Syria provides the main bridge by which Iran is able to support Hezbollah and Hamas, influence Lebanon, outflank its Sunni Gulf adversaries and threaten Israel.

    Aug 1, 2012

  • Commentary


    Fighting the Insurgency

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jun 8, 2004

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Are There Barriers to Minorities Joining Special Operations Forces?

    Are minorities underrepresented and, if so, are there barriers that hinder them from joining Special Operations Forces (SOF)?

    Jan 1, 1999

  • Report


    U.S. Preparation for Future Low-Level Conflict

    Reports a discussion of implications for U.S. security planning of small-scale crises and conflicts, held in October 1976 at RAND.

    Jan 1, 1977

  • People


    Elizabeth M. Bartels

    Codirector, RAND Center for Gaming; Associate Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D. in policy analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.S. in political science, MIT; B.A. in political science, University of Chicago