A SOF General to Run Afghanistan?


SOF Support
Sep 8, 2006
Buried WAY down in the article below is this nugget:

The plan first calls for creating a two-star command position overseeing the entire Special Operations effort in Afghanistan. Next, the three-star corps headquarters that currently commands the day-to-day operations of the war — and is held by an Army officer from the conventional force — would be handed over to a Special Operations officer.

Be interesting to see who runs this if this report is accurate.
The "entire" SOF effort or the "SOF effort that involves everyone except the national SOF Task Force?"

Well, better late than never, it only took ten years...
I see major problems in implementing this. Who is going to be in charge? What theater SOF general officer has (operational) troops and a staff under him? IIRC, everything above O6 in SF, for example, is a "resourcing" headquarters rather than a "warfighting" headquarters. The national SOF folks have what, a three-star, a two-star, and two one-stars, who are certainly up to the task, but who would probably face major resistance if they assumed authority for theater SOF forces.

More importantly than the commander, where is the staff going to come from to support the general they stick with this assignment? From SOCOM or USASFC headquarters? From augmentees? From the Groups? I don't think there are many theater SOF staffs who are up to operating at a theater-of-war level. The national SOF task force could probably do it, but that's not really their mission.

We should have had one unified SOF command structure in both Iraq and Afghanistan a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time ago. But I hope they really think this through before they try to implement it, or it's going to be a painful learning experience for everyone involved.

Then there's the question of how much control the SOF commander is going to have over the national SOF task force. If there is not some kind of meaningful command relationship, all they're succeeding in doing in Afghanistan is adding another layer of command structure on top of the Group commander operating in-theater. If that's the case, then that GO might better assist the war effort by being closer to policymakers in Tampa and/or D.C. than in theater, trying to micromanage the war effort.
They will take some GO with a SOF background and build a staff around him. "You, you, you....get on a plane." They've already done it over here down in Kabul with CFC-A, and I know of at least one SOTF over here who used conventional officers (ADA) in the -3 shop, so I'd bet a dollar on something similar.