SOF: A Separate Service?

SOF: Separate Service?

  • SOF should remain the same as it has been.

    Votes: 37 86.0%
  • SOF should become its own branch of service.

    Votes: 6 14.0%

  • Total voters
    43
B

Boon

Guest
I read this article this morning and thought I would raise the question here. I think my thoughts have changed slightly from what they were a year ago, based solely on recent cuts and mission ahead. I can see positives and negatives to both sides of the coin. If for some reason this was actually created, it would likely cause some crazy restructuring within SOF. I would have about a billion questions regarding the logistics, structure, missions, selections, etc though...

It's Time to Make Special Operations a Separate Service

If Americans learned anything from the colossally expensive use of large general purpose Army and Marine combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's that a low-profile mix of special operations forces and covert operators to find and liquidate anti-Western insurgent, terrorist, and criminal elements is a more effective and economical solution in the Middle East. Special forces are also far better suited to foreign internal defense missions than general purpose Army or Marine forces.

In addition, a smaller defense budget is not only inevitable; it's a national economic necessity. Budgetary realities dictate a strategic shift toward more efficient and effective means of national defense, means predicated on a lighter footprint overseas with far fewer soldiers and Marines stationed on foreign soil.

Thus, it's time to make special operations a separate service. But Americans in and out of uniform must scale back their expectations regarding what such a service could achieve on its own. In a conflict with a capable opponent that fields effective armed forces and maintains a cohesive society, special operations forces can only operate on the margins in support of general purpose forces. Special ops is most effective in the developing world, where societies are weak and armed forces are ineffective or nonexistent. These are places like the Middle East, Africa, and most of Latin America, where capable air-defense networks, strong armies, and internal police forces are few and far between. In these settings, special operations forces can play a decisive strategic role.

There is also another reason why special operations should become a separate service. Operatives should be legally accountable for actions involving the train and equip mission, as well as direct action missions beyond America's borders. Like all of the current services, a separate special forces service must not operate without regional combatant CDR knowledge or permission anywhere under any circumstances.

One way to establish special forces as a separate service is to return the general purpose Marines to control of the Navy while also permanently reassigning selected Army, Marine and Air Force units to SOF and SF control. This would keep the number of service branches the same. All of these proposed changes should be considered in the context of a new National Security Act designed to replace the JCS system with a unified national defense staff under a uniformed national defense chief.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...202170217debateclub.so.mfeb21,0,3336428.story
 

CDG

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Even from an outsider's POV there are a lot of questions that come to mind.

Support personnel
How does the new SOF branch glean the support personnel needed for their missions? Do the mother branches have to give up everyone currently assigned in a SOF support/enabler role at the time of the change, or does each unit hold "try-outs" to come with them to the new branch? Does each unit get its own enablers, or are enablers a community asset that are moved around as needed?

Enlistment
Are dudes allowed to just enlist into the SOF branch for a shot? Or do they have to do mandatory conventional time and then transfer over? If they can just enlist, is there a SOF boot-camp program run as a kind of Selection Prep, or do guys enlist and then just head to Selection?

Selection
What do you do with guys that fail/are dropped from Selection courses? Do they automaticaly become enablers? Let them transfer to a conventional branch? Kick them out? What happens with those who fail a Selection and then want to try again down the road, but are now in a conventional branch?

Units
Does each unit still maintain its own Selection course? Or are there more general Selection courses (swim-based or ruck-based) with guys being "picked" or choosing which unit they want to go to? What happens with the SMUs? Are they also their own branch, or do they get folded under the new SOF-only branch?

This is what I can think of off the top of my head..... It sounds like a great idea, but is it worth all the trouble?
 

fox1371

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I'm confused on how generating a new branch of the military would prove to be cost effective?
 

surgicalcric

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Do you mind elaborating?

article said:
If Americans learned anything from the colossally expensive use of large general purpose Army and Marine combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's that a low-profile mix of special operations forces and covert operators to find and liquidate anti-Western insurgent, terrorist, and criminal elements is a more effective and economical solution in the Middle East.

Astan was won through conventional air-strikes utilizing SF teams to target enemy locations and strongholds. Iraq was a conventional war fought with conventional forces to include air. Not every country in the ME has the same scenario playing out as the two above. Taking options (COA) off the table based on the previous examples is a poor way to justify a separate branch and a RIF.

Making SOF its own branch will not decrease the budgetary needs dramatically.

Special Forces are also far better suited to foreign internal defense missions than general purpose Army or Marine forces.

No arguments there... However I doubt his understanding of FID and mine are the same.

In addition, a smaller defense budget is not only inevitable; it's a national economic necessity. Budgetary realities dictate a strategic shift toward more efficient and effective means of national defense, means predicated on a lighter footprint overseas with far fewer soldiers and Marines stationed on foreign soil.

Thus, it's time to make special operations a separate service.

So he believes SOF should then be its own service based on 1) our ability to hunt and kill/capture those who threaten our way of life - which he hasn't argued was impacted by us not being our own branch; and 2) that there is going to be budget cuts - but he does state how making SOF a branch will make those cuts less painful.

But Americans in and out of uniform must scale back their expectations regarding what such a service could achieve on its own. In a conflict with a capable opponent that fields effective armed forces and maintains a cohesive society, special operations forces can only operate on the margins in support of general purpose forces. Special ops is most effective in the developing world, where societies are weak and armed forces are ineffective or nonexistent. These are places like the Middle East, Africa, and most of Latin America, where capable air-defense networks, strong armies, and internal police forces are few and far between. In these settings, special operations forces can play a decisive strategic role.

Here he mixes all SOF together, which is quite common for someone who hasn't done their homework - after all we are all Special Forces right. Quite honestly all SOF can work within developed countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria and Iran but certain missions are better suited for less developed countries. Its these less developed places where a smaller footprint and the ability to somewhat move within the populace is needed.

There is also another reason why special operations should become a separate service. Operatives should be legally accountable for actions involving the train and equip mission, as well as direct action missions beyond America's borders. Like all of the current services, a separate Special Forces service must not operate without regional combatant CDR knowledge or permission anywhere under any circumstances.

WOW... So we should be our own service so we are responsible for the missions we receive from our civilian leadership and their execution. I am pretty sure he thinks we have carte blanch to do whatever we want, which isn't the case. He wants us to be our own service, which in his convoluted perception will provide us more freedom to work in developing countries so we can be held accountable in those countries when things don't turn out quite as the civilian leadership would have hoped all the while still falling under the finger of the GCC. Talk about not making sense....

One way to establish Special Forces as a separate service is to return the general purpose Marines to control of the Navy while also permanently reassigning selected Army, Marine and Air Force units to SOF and SF control. This would keep the number of service branches the same. All of these proposed changes should be considered in the context of a new National Security Act designed to replace the JCS system with a unified national defense staff under a uniformed national defense chief.

Like what units would he have placed under our control? Now the Navy is supposed to decide how Marines should be utilized? How about place the Air Force back under control of the Army while he is at it...

And whats this nonsense about the JCS. We have all of what he just laid out except for a new National Security Act aimed at making us less...errr more secure.

Furthermore he fails to take into consideration or at least fails to mention all the stuff you previously mentioned, and more...
 

RackMaster

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Stay the same. A similar discussion happened up here and in a way it is it's "own" but it draws from all 3 main services for recruitment. From my perspective, I don't think it should be a direct entry job; you should have to do some time in a conventional unit to gain experience and maturity.
 

Ravage

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I know I'm on the outside looking in, but look at Poland.
We created DWS in 07, and made SOF a seperate branch of the military shortly there after.
Personel is porcured from other services.
It's not perfect, but we are learning.
 

0699

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One way to establish Special Forces as a separate service is to return the general purpose Marines to control of the Navy while also permanently reassigning selected Army, Marine and Air Force units to SOF and SF control. This would keep the number of service branches the same. All of these proposed changes should be considered in the context of a new National Security Act designed to replace the JCS system with a unified national defense staff under a uniformed national defense chief

and the only way I see to read this paragraph is that he recommends getting rid of the Corps to establish a new SOF service. :-o
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I would actually take the opposite direction.

For full spectrum ops type missions (i.e. Iraq, current Astan, etc) I think SOF needs more interaction with CF. I think the BCT’s should have separate SOF-TF (or even a small SOF element intergraded) within the BCT’s. I am not talking about SF, but more like a well trained Intel section, PSY/CA team and a well trained Ranger platoon (HVT’s, CT & HR type mission). This would allow BCT commanders the resources to run their own battle space without having several SOF units operating within his A/O. Any JTF Intel can come down to the BCT and that specific SOF attachment would have the ability to work it. I think it would bridge a lot of gaps and foster better results.

For the small foot print ops (Philippines, Libya, Oman, etc) I would leave that up to SOCOM, JSOC, SF types. Allow them to pull over CF as they need them, etc.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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What if our combatant commanders and the DoD used SOF units they way they were intended? A seperate branch only makes sense when you're dealing with assholes guys like Rummy and Schwartzkopf.

I think I'm stupider for having read the article.
 

tigerstr

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I found the article kind of amusing, because it makes an intellectually interesting proposal, based on a decidedly wrong and simplistic line of reasoning.

But, IMHO, the fact that SOCOM now wants to be more involved in the HR side (promotions etc.) of SOF personnel, plus the delicate SOCOM effort to standardise some/most SOF training, across the Services, kind of begs the question "what could be next".

On the other hand, all over the world, Services are separated by the domain they operate, (Land Sea Air).

The USMC is an exception. They advocate operating at the "seams" and have always felt their existence is threatened.

As an outsider I think that putting USMC under the Navy would not fly and that a fifth Service would be too much.

But as long as we are in this line of reasoning (that steps on an awful lot of toes and traditions), I for one :sneaky: would find it far more interesting if the USMC was streamlined and merged with SOF.

"A few good men" operating at the seams, with their own logistics/support and special assets (air naval) getting most of the small wars pie etc etc.:ninja:
 

M482012AN5

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Most people are familiar with the nightmare that standing DHS was, with its relevance/efficacy still very much in contention. This establishment of a new service may not take much more than changing the signs on the buildings, but I think the successes of SOF lie heavily in their ability to bend the traditional bureaucratic confines in the interest of mission accomplishment, with a pragmatic take on how they aggregate and utilize mission specific resources. The structural ambiguity, and the joint IC/SOF community's ability to manipulate it in their favor, is an asset, not a restraint.

I agree with surgicalcric, it's certainly not a RAND white paper.
 

Bloodline

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What if our combatant commanders and the DoD used SOF units they way they were intended? A seperate branch only makes sense when you're dealing with assholes guys like Rummy and Schwartzkopf.

I think I'm stupider for having read the article.

Perfect.

I'm searching for the author and the most likely individual is this guy. http://www.douglasmacgregor.com/

Non-SOF Army Tanker who commanded in the battle of 73 Easting....which explains his "informed" opinion. Now he makes a living consulting and as a media "military expert."
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
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I'm searching for the author and the most likely individual is this guy. http://www.douglasmacgregor.com/

Non-SOF Army Tanker who commanded in the battle of 73 Easting....which explains his "informed" opinion. Now he makes a living consulting and as a media "military expert."

I think they are one and the same, hence my response below:

Fuck this guy, fuck 73 Easting, and fuck COL/ BGEN/ Whateverheisthesedays McMasters.

I won't take away anything from what they did at 73 Easting, but after that? We have a serious problem when these guys are seen as the future of the US Army. The future? Take MacGregor. His book was noticed by the neocons. When Franks, Shinseki, and a host of others at CENTCOM and the JCS told Rummy 125k troops wasn't nearly enough, Rummy went apeshit. Why? Rummy believed that they could take and hold Iraq with as little as 75K? Why? Doug MacGregor. Rummy was so incensed that his generals told him 300k plus that he sent MacGregor to CENTCOM to talk some sense into them. They basically put the guy in a conference room and ignored him; I don't blame CENTCOM. A prime reason the US went in with as few troops as we did was due in large part to COL MacGregor's behind-the-scenes dicksucking he did on Rumsfeld's staff. So, the future of the Army is a back-stabbing little bitch of a man politician who couldn't even pick up a star despite being a favorite of the SECDEF and his posse?

McMasters: What a trainwreck.

It boggles my mind that one battle created so many "reformers" and now one of them knows what to do with our nation's SOF?

I wouldn't wipe my ass with the Chicago Tribune as long as the port-a-johns had John Wayne toilet paper.
 
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