Demise of the Green Berets?- From Military.com

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ckidd

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Demise of the Green Berets?

Soldier of Fortune | Maj. Gen. James Guest, USA | April 16, 2008

For a glimpse into the future of Special Forces, read the Capstone Concept for Special Operations on the USSOCOM web site. Read through it carefully. Can you find the words "Special Forces" anywhere? Or "Special Forces group?" Can you find "ODA" (operational detachment - alpha)? Or "ODB" (operational detachment - bravo)? Or "Special Forces battalion?"

You can't find these words. We can read that as a strong signal that you won't be able to find Special Forces anywhere before very long. Many other signals suggest that the senior leadership in both United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Department of the Army (DA) are working to do away with the Green Berets. The generals at USSOCOM and in the Pentagon have been blurring the distinctions between Special Forces and special operations forces (SOF) units (Rangers, JSOC, SEALs, Delta, et al.) for some time. We now see references to "Air Force special forces," "Navy special forces," and "Marine special forces" but we rarely see the term "U. S. Army Special Forces." We do see "Army SOF," which only describes a grouping of forces, not a capability. We do see SF ODAs referred to as "special operations detachments," another sad precursor of the future.

The Capstone Concept for Special Operations being developed for USSOCOM includes the concept "global expeditionary forces," and all indications point to the intent to replace the SF groups with this new concept. The organizational charts are changing, too, and the plans are for these global expeditionary forces to work directly for USSOCOM worldwide in a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)-like configuration. Although the security assistance force (SAF) concept is a much more streamlined and effective mechanism for utilizing U. S. Army Special Forces-the SAF is regionally oriented and works directly for the combatant commander-it has been discarded.

Is USA SF Being Eviscerated?

Is this a ploy to be able to take the ODAs and use them operationally without going through the group headquarters (HQ), including the group Special Forces operating bases (SFOB)? Since 1952, conventional force headquarters have attempted to neutralize Special Forces command and control by treating the group and battalion HQ as non-operational administrative units, the purpose of which is to maintain ODAs in order that conventional units, such as JSOC, can cherry-pick them to use as support for their own missions. Reportedly, SF troops are already under the operational control of JSOC. JSOC is using the Green Berets for JSOC's own ends, whether to gather intelligence for JSOC missions or to carry out "special missions" that, if successful, JSOC can take the credit for. You can imagine who will suck up the blame if such a "special mission" goes south.

How can Special Forces be neutralized in this way? If those who want to do away with the Green Berets are successful, they will need the full support of the senior leadership of the U. S. Army. Will they do away with the Special Forces officer branch? The Special Forces warrant officer branch? The Special Forces NCO career management fields (CMF)? To date, we merely have the unusual spectacle of a relatively small unit (USSOCOM)-however joint they may be-taking control of an entire United States Army branch.

The Army transferred control of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (SWC) and School from Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) in 1990. USASOC has since taken the combat developments capability out of SWC and made it a staff section of USASOC HQ. Bear in mind that this office is the heartbeat (perhaps also the brain) of the force developments and requirements process, and therefore has a major, if not controlling voice in all future concept development, acquisitions, organization, and support doctrine for Special Forces. This, in turn, impacts recruitment, promotions, training, and equipping the force; doctrinal studies and publications; and concept developments to support Special Forces. This also impacts U. S. Army psychological operations and civil affairs concepts and developments. Since this power node was moved from SWC to USASOC, SWC is now a pygmy in the lineup of U.S. Army schools. A harbinger of the future is the recent cut of 13 million dollars from the SWC budget.

Marine Specops Intrude

Another indication that SWC's leadership position in the unconventional warfare (UW) arena is disappearing is that on 27 June 2007, the USMC formally activated the Marine Special Operations School. The stated intent of the USMC senior leadership is that it will become "the premier FID [foreign internal defense] and Unconventional Warfare University in the entire SOF community."

Approval from USSOCOM was required for this duplication of effort, as well as for the above-quoted statement. There can be no true duplication for many years, if ever. The culture of the USMC will be even less amenable to the necessities of working with, through, and by indigenous people than the culture of the conventional Army. The Marines are a world-class service and a superb fighting force, but they are new to FID and new to unconventional warfare. Many a harsh lesson awaits them if they are going to try to replace the Green Berets. U. S. Army Special Forces has been increasing in proficiency and experience in counterinsurgency (COIN), FID, UW, and international security assistance missions for more than a half century.

Are the Marines willing to take the slots out of their own hide and form up more than 300 Special Forces-type operational detachments? Why would USSOCOM leaders be willing for the USMC to start this effort from scratch, when time is of the essence? Is USSOCOM willing to hand over U. S. Army Special Forces personnel authorizations to the USMC so they can become the premier FID and UW warriors of the future? Is somebody selling wolf tickets?

Specops Tactics Turned Upside Down

In the USSOCOM Capstone Concept, the TTP for conducting Special Forces operations are turned on their heads. This developing concept speaks in terms of pulling everything back to the continental United States (CONUS) and of deploying JSOC units in the same way as carrier battle groups (CBG) and Marine expeditionary units (MEU), instead of doing what has worked so well for so long for Special Forces. Look on pages 9 and 10 of the Capstone Concept, under "Global Expeditionary Force." While this concept would work for raids and other direct actions (such as JSOC, Rangers, SEALs, and USAF Special Tactics Teams are trained to conduct), if USSOCOM attempts to steal the mission of Special Forces by using this model, they will merely create a "roving gnome," who will soon be calling for backup. In short, the USSOCOM Capstone Concept totally ignores the demonstrated and historically successful Special Forces operational concept of working by, with, and through those we are helping.

As a result of more than fifty years of fine tuning, each Special Forces group now operates in its assigned region. Group HQ deploy joint combined exchange training (JCET) teams to enhance bilateral relations and interoperability with regional nations through military-to-military contact. These U. S. Special Forces JCET teams establish long-term relationships with indigenous personnel. They work to improve regional unit combat skills and observance of humanitarian requirements. They develop trust between host nations and the USA, with a program tailored to meet specific needs as identified by Green Berets on the ground. This capability will disappear with the Green Berets, and no SOF "shock-and awe" can replace it.

Armchair Specops

Compared to the lean organization of Special Forces, the USSOCOM model creates a bureaucracy with too many supervisors for too few workers, with the supervisors far away from the action. Money that would be better spent on the mission will be used for funding extra layers of chair-borne supervisors. Worse, an unwieldy organization will get in the way of accomplishing the mission. The men on the ground have a much better feel for what they need to do and how best to do it, while the top-down bureaucratic rigidity frustrates more than it facilitates.

Will these newly created bureaucratic slots be filled with Special Forces officers and NCOs? What do you think? The conventional officers who have risen to the highest ranks through their connections with JSOC, Delta, the Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the SEALs will be in charge. There is only one Special Forces officer (newly promoted) above the rank of major general, so, once again, Special Forces are being decapitated and will be under the ultimate command of those who have never gone through selection and assessment, never attended the SFOC, never served a tour on an ODA, and never served repeated assignments in a SFG(A).

The 2006 version of the USSOCOM Capstone Concept that we can access online does not show the new organizational charts that are presently proposed for the global expeditionary forces in the 2007 Capstone Concept. They are classified, but in the end there may be more than a dozen staff officers and NCOs for every soldier who will be assigned the mission on the ground. Reliable sources state that, even now, there are more than 130 (perhaps as many as 160) U. S. Army E-9s in Army special mission units assigned to JSOC. When that is compared with the 13 to15 E-9s in a Special Forces group, it does tend to raise eyebrows. What are they doing? According to the reports, thirteen of them are packing parachutes.

SOF DVD w/o SF

In April 2007, USSOCOM put out a 20-minute DVD celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Even though Special Forces personnel make up the greatest part of the USSOCOM forces, the U. S. Army Special Forces are never once mentioned in this DVD. Although Special Forces is the oldest force in USSOCOM and has been the USSOCOM workhorse since its inception, not one Green Beret is seen in the montage of photographs.

Colonel Banks is not mentioned in the historical overview, or General Yarborough, or General Healy. There is no reference to Colonel Bull Simons, to Colonel Charlie Beckwith, nor to General Joe Lutz. Yet without these men, the path to the present day in United States "special operations" would be difficult to imagine. Most amazingly, the DVD makes no reference to President John F. Kennedy, who supported the establishment of Special Forces in 1961.

Will Special Forces exist ten or twenty years down the road? What can we do to ensure the continuing existence and contribution of the Green Berets?

It is time to fight again, this time for the preservation of the force. If we do not protest the poor stewardship of the U. S. Army and USSOCOM leaders concerning U. S. Army Special Forces and its unique capability, we will certainly see this capability diminish.
 

Rabid Badger

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This document is almost 3 years old. This is more of a 'proposal' to USSOCOM and reads more like a doctoral thesis:

USSOCOM is not in the business of delegating authority down to the SFODA level. This would come under the heading micro-managing.

Re-read the CONCEPT. Do you see MARSOC listed? AFSOC? Does this mean the SOF's are going away? No.

The word JOINT is using about 1200 times in this CONCEPT, and IMO, overused to the point of being obnoxious.

The Commanders Intent says it all:

Commander’s foreword:
Not since World War II has this nation relied so heavily on its Special Operations Forces. Current conflicts test the very essence of our Special Operators; our training, our doctrine, and our resolve to defend our way of life. We have risen to this challenge and brought de-mocracy to a region which has never before tasted the freedoms that we so readily defend. We are further engaged in bringing freedom to lands that have known only totalitarianism, dictatorships, or anarchy.
Our mission is not complete, and our evolution to meet these and future challenges is unremitting.Our commitment to this nation requires still more of our warriors. It requires a constant force evolution, not in response to our adversaries, but in advance of our adversaries.
It requires a willingness to look beyond pressing issues of the day and prepare to engage an ad-versary that is not yet in our sights. This commitment transcends our loyalties to organization or to Service component and challenges us to see Special Operations Forces as a collective instrument of national strategic power.
The Capstone Concept for Special Operations is our overarching depiction of how the Spe-cial Operations community will support national strategic and military objectives beyond the Future Years Defense Plan. The evolution described within this concept is the result of years of research, wargaming, experimentation and lessons learned by our organizations and our warriors. This evolution is vital to our continued relevancy and our remaining the nation’s premier fighting force.The future is unknown, but our resolve to meet the future’s challenges is firm.
This concept will challenge us to further evolve in ways which are as unconventional as the warfare that we conduct. It will confront archetypes, challenge current doctrine, and require us to view the world of Special Operations as a collective capability as opposed to a collection of specialized warriors. We will meet this challenge, revolutionary as it is, and be fully prepared for tomor-row, in advance of tomorrow’s adversaries.

Nothing wrong with evolving and using joint commands. This will combine and utilize more resources than USSOCOM has in the past. The jist of this CONCEPT revolves around a CORE of QP's, and the Special Forces are that core.

'Soldier of Fortune' is not the proponent agency that decides where we go and what we do, or our fate as a fighting force.

:2c:
 

riptide

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I'm an outsider looking in, but the little I do know about the Army Special Forces is that in the kind of conflicts we are in now and will have in the future, what the Green Berets do is greatly needed and they are very much at the tip of the spear. FID has always been a specialty of the Green Berets.
 
8

8'Duece

Guest
I've heard it said before by better men than me but I'll say it again..................

"Politicians get much more mileage out of the direct action efforts than they do UW/FID"

Think about it ?


What SEALs caLL UW is a tad different from how UW is definded by USASFC. That's one expample that I've learned as an outsider looking in after reading more threads and books than I care to mention from other boards. I don't think I'm out of my lane too far here.

I just don't get the MARSOC and MARSOG concept, especially since the largest component of SOCOM already has over 50 years experience with UW/FID roles across the globe. How long will it take the Corps to ramp up an 12 man team with the same capabilities of an experienced ODA ? Learning Farsi at SOAF is much different than trying to understand Phashto while in theater.
 
S

Simmerin' SigO

Guest
A very good friend of mine, a still-serving MI officer who thinks about stuff like this all the time (and has good SOF creds) sent me the subject article, and appended his comments:

Return as much as possible to the Lodge Act days; recruit a lot of foreigners, especially Arab-speaking Christians and moderate Muslims who can be vetted; get them the requisite Secret clearances, and create a force of native speakers that no one else can duplicate. I think that continuing to recruit a force that is predominantly American, and trying to teach those guys to speak foreign languages well is just not going to keep SF alive. There has got to be a significant proportion of native speakers in the SFGAs.

I also think that a significant portion of the Army leadership has gained an impression from the creation of the Multi-National Security & Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I), and the impression is that they can create SF-like capabilities relatively quickly and get the same results, without putting Soldiers through SFAS and SFQC, and transferring them (or "losing them") to SF Branch. The fact that the Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) and Border Transition Teams (BTTs) of MNSTC-I are not operating totally independently, in a "cut-off" scenario in denied terrain has not been given sufficient consideration. SF has got to be able to field teams that include native speakers, who don't need contract interpreters, who can clearly demonstrate that they can operate in denied terrain without having a local American conventional brigade or battalion to run to when the sh*t hits the fan.

As long as SF has to keep relying on contract 'terps, I don't think that the difference between SF's capabilities and those of units like MNSTC-I or MARSOC is going to be readily apparent to enough people.

The Lodge Act got everything rolling for SF back in 1952 ... somehow, a revived Lodge Act mentality has got to be used to revive the emphasis on SF, versus "SOF." The native-speaking potential recruits are out there; now SF just has to find a way to recruit them. The conventional Army might even welcome that approach; if SF does its recruiting among DPs and refugees, two groups that probably don't provide too many recruits for regular USAREC recruiters, that might take some of the pressure off of the USAREC mission.

Sez me: Concur with most; The Lodge Act was a significant boon to the forming of SF and given the value of cultural/language skills to true SF ops, legislation like that would certainly set the conditions to boost SF. Of course, the other Services are likely to glaum onto some of the intake and therefore dilute the value. (Ya know...fairness and all that.)

I'm not 100% sure that the initial training phase can take that many "off the street" folks and bring them to "SF" quality in a timely manner. Also, it will probably require a significant English as Second Language phase, particularly if they are transplanted foreigners.

But I think the positions espoused above are otherwise sound.
 

car

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A very good friend of mine, a still-serving MI officer who thinks about stuff like this all the time (and has good SOF creds) sent me the subject article, and appended his comments:



Sez me: Concur with most; The Lodge Act was a significant boon to the forming of SF and given the value of cultural/language skills to true SF ops, legislation like that would certainly set the conditions to boost SF. Of course, the other Services are likely to glaum onto some of the intake and therefore dilute the value. (Ya know...fairness and all that.)

I'm not 100% sure that the initial training phase can take that many "off the street" folks and bring them to "SF" quality in a timely manner. Also, it will probably require a significant English as Second Language phase, particularly if they are transplanted foreigners.

But I think the positions espoused above are otherwise sound.

The Army is recruiting native or "heritage" linguists now in MOS 09L, although not for an SF capability.

http://www.goarmy.com/JobDetail.do?id=342
 

surgicalcric

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...who can clearly demonstrate that they can operate in denied terrain without having a local American conventional brigade or battalion to run to when the sh*t hits the fan...

You mean like SF did in Afghanistan at the beginning of the GWOT? I dont remember seeing ANY conventional brigades or battalions in any of the pictures of combat against the Taliban when ODA 555/535 captured Kandahar. How short a memory some have when they have an agenda.

As long as SF has to keep relying on contract 'terps, I don't think that the difference between SF's capabilities and those of units like MNSTC-I or MARSOC is going to be readily apparent to enough people.

Even if everyone in 5th and 3rd Groups were native speakers there would still be a need for terps when the other Groups rotate into theater. 7th Group has many native speakers and many soldiers who speak at that level as a second language. I imagine the same holds true for 1st Group, though I dont have alot of experience in that area. 1st, 7th, 10th, 19th and 20th Groups are rotating thru the box too; you cant neglect the other AOR's languages and needs just to recruit native arabic, farsi, pashtu, etc speakers. We do that and we lose the ability to conduct warfare in those other AO's.

There is much more an SFODA brings to the table other than being able to speak the local language. Those things cannot be duplicated without a strict selection and qual course... A warrior can learn a second language with time, however the inverse isnt true for linguist. I will take an SF guy who needs a terp (because he speaks another language) than a native speaker who isnt a warrior.

Crip
 
S

Simmerin' SigO

Guest
I can't believe anything out of Soldier of Fortune is even seriously considered.

(Concur, with this caveat:)
This article is a reprint from other sources. Don't focus on the fact it is posted here from SOF Mag...
 

Marauder06

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I only read the first part of the original post... sounds like a bunch of alarmist sensationalism to me. SF isn't going anywhere. :rolleyes:

I don't understand why the original author was getting all bent out of shape about what's featured on SOCOM's unclass website... there's a hell of a lot more to SOF than SF. Now if SF disappeared off the USASOC website, I'd say there's a problem.

Training everyone to speak Arabic isn't the panacea everyone seems to think it is. I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure that the majority of Muslims aren't Arabs and don't speak Arabic as a native language. I'm also pretty sure that the majority of our enemies in Afghanistan don't speak it, either. We have more enemies in the world than the ones that speak Arabic or Pashto. It's criminally short-sighted to want to train all SF in one language, to the exclusion of all others.

Ditto what cric and RB said.
 
S

Simmerin' SigO

Guest
I only read the first part of the original post... sounds like a bunch of alarmist sensationalism to me. SF isn't going anywhere. :rolleyes:

I don't understand why the original author was getting all bent out of shape about what's featured on SOCOM's unclass website... there's a hell of a lot more to SOF than SF. Now if SF disappeared off the USASOC website, I'd say there's a problem.

You raise a completely different point. I agree that the tone/tenor of this paper is, in fact, hyperalarmist. It's probably true to an extent, but not to the degree protrayed by the author.

I will say though that one of the rarest sites at USSOCOM Headquarters is a Special Forces-qualified officer, warrant, or NCO.
 

Marauder06

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I was just down there last week for the global sync conference, looked to me like there were LOTS of longtabbers assigned to SOCOM.
 

car

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I will say though that one of the rarest sites at USSOCOM Headquarters is a Special Forces-qualified officer, warrant, or NCO.

I suspect that that's because most healthy long tabbers are in the fight, or getting ready to be in the fight - or recovering.
 

Rabid Badger

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I suspect that that's because most healthy long tabbers are in the fight, or getting ready to be in the fight - or recovering.

Naw........ Simmerin' SigO ...not to beat on ya, buuuuuut ......USSOCOM is the pinnacle of the SF Officer world.....

Anyone who's been to Tampa-MacDill will know the deal...and will know that this 'proposal' is the dreamchild of a general officer under contract to campaign for 'joint' monies.

originally posted by razor_baghdad: 'Soldier of Fortune' is not the proponent agency that decides where we go and what we do, or our fate as a fighting force.

:2c:
 
S

Simmerin' SigO

Guest
Naw........ Simmerin' SigO ...not to beat on ya, buuuuuut ......USSOCOM is the pinnacle of the SF Officer world.....

Anyone who's been to Tampa-MacDill will know the deal...and will know that this 'proposal' is the dreamchild of a general officer under contract to campaign for 'joint' monies. :2c:

Pinnacle? Not my experience. I think the TSOCs are.
 

Snaquebite

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This article was written 3 years ago. I would also consider the source and author.
 
B

Boondocksaint375

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Received this email this a.m.

I'm forwarding this article by a retired Green Beret Major General whichdescribes how the conventional military is trying to eviscerate the U.S.Army Special Forces. It appears in the May issue of SOF which is now onthe newsstands. SOF has been working closely with Gen. Guest and membersof the "Veterans of Special Forces" to address and, hopefully, correctthis problem. Note also my editorial.

Thought you would be interested.
Fight for the Second Amendment,
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown
Editor/Publisher
Soldier of Fortune Magazine


COMMAND GUIDANCE
Lt. Col. Robert K. Brown, USAR (Ret.)
Saturday, March 29 2008 6:12 PM

THE DEMISE OF THE GREEN BERETS?
SOF MISSION: To Assist SF to Maintain its Present Mission and Capabilities
The photo of Richard Mason, a Special Forces (SF) operator who was involved in the destruction of Taliban in Afghanistan, is on the cover. SF was primarily responsible for ripping the guts out of the Islamic whackos! Our feature article focuses on how once again the conventional Colonel Blimps in the Pentagon are attempting to eviscerate the U.S. Army’s SF, popularly known as the “Green Berets”. The SEALs and special operators from the Air Force, as well as the CIA and smart bombs, certainly made significant contributions, but it was the SF Operational Detachments that carried the heavy load. (A superb overview of this stunning success can be found in Paladin Press’ U.S. Army Special Operations in Afghanistan, available at www.paladin-press.com.)
It really is the first time since Vietnam that SF has received any significant credit for their sacrifices and success in defending America. Most of the time, they operate in a low-profile mode which has been characterized by some as the “Quiet Professionals.” (Some elements of the SF community are suggesting that this concept has worked against us for too long; that we need to start emulating the PR capability of the Marine Corps to get the recognition we need to insure our survival. SOF intends to do just that)!
For openers, we are publishing the concerns of Major General James A. Guest, USA (Ret.), starting on page 42. For those interested in exploring this travesty further, I strongly recommend that you access www.veteransofspecialforces.com. As I started to research this subject, I came across a think piece from 12 August, 2007 by James Dunnigan, the editor of Strategypage.com, which effectively sets the stage for our concerns. I invite comments and observations. Send e-mails to editorsof@aol.com.
De Oppressor Liber
Captain Robert K. Brown
Team Leader, Detachment A-334
Vietnam, 1969
 

Marauder06

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"Evisceration?" WTF, didn't each of the active duty Groups just get a whole other battalion, plus some additional support bubbas? :uhh: Shit, I wish my unit would get "eviscerated" like that.
 
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