Special Operations Forces



Chivers, C.J. "Long Before War, Green Berets Built Military Ties to Uzbekistan." New York Times, 25 Oct. 2001. []

"In 1999, teams of Green Berets arrived at former Soviet garrisons" outside Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. "The mission was straightforward: to train the army of a former foe, in part to prepare its inexperienced conscripts for skirmishes with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist group accused of setting off bombs in Tashkent earlier that year. The long-term goal was more ambitious. The Green Berets were one element of an accelerating security arrangement in which the two nations were laying the groundwork for more extensive military cooperation."

Clancy, Tom.

1. Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U.S. Army Special Forces. New York: Berkley, 2000.

Publisher's Weekly, 1 Jan. 2001, calls this "the most comprehensive overview of the U.S. Army Special Forces available to general readers." Although his "language slips into jargon often enough to confuse the target audience of interested generalists..., Clancy remains a consummate storyteller."

2. [and] Carl Stiner [GEN/USA (Ret.)], and Tony Koltz. Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces. New York: Putnam, 2002. [pb] New York: Berkley, 2003.

General Stiner is a former commander of USSOCOM.

Cline, Lawrence E. "Special Operations and the Intelligence System." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 4 (Winter 2005-2006): 575-592.

"Given the complexity of special operations missions and their significance, special operations forces are voracious consumers of intelligence." Special operations forces (SOF) also "can be major producers of intelligence.... The biggest stumbling block to improving intelligence support to SOF, and to maximizing SOF's contribution to the overall intelligence structure, is the distribution system."

Cogan, Charles G. "Desert One and Its Disorders." Journal of Military History 67, no. 1 (Jan. 2003): 201-216.

From abstract: Desert One "was not only an organizational failure, due to a splintering of the U.S. armed forces, but a failure of political will and political appreciation. The U.S. ... reacted tentatively [to the hostage situation] and with a certain propitiation. When ... a hostage rescue operation was finally mounted, it was so conceived that the U.S. could call it off at any step along the way. Desert One turned out to be the defining moment that led to a sea-change in American military policy in the 1980s: the spread of the principle of joint operations for the U.S. armed forces (Goldwater-Nichols Act), and the companion Cohen-Nunn Act consolidating Special Forces under a U.S. Special Operations Command."

Couch, Dick [CAPT/USNR (Ret.)].

1. Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior. New York: Crown, 2007.

Keiser, Proceedings 133.3 (Mar. 2007), says that this is "a well-written inside view of Army Special Forces (SF) troops." The author "spells out the demanding selection process they undergo and the ardous training they endure."

2. Down Range: Navy SEALs in the War on Terrorism. New York: Crown, 2005. [pb] New York: Three Rivers, 2006.

Keiser, Proceedings 131.12 (Dec. 2005), sees this work as a "selected review of SEAL efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq." The author relates "the details of several combat operations, including insights on the rescue of Army Private First Class Jessica Lynch and the attendant publicity." This is "a fine account of exceptionally qualified and dedicated warriors."

3. "Shore Up SOF." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 131, no. 1 (Jan. 2005): 38-40.

"[G]iven the lead time required to train and develop a competent special operator, we are now losing them faster than we can make them.... Bottom line, we are losing our very best at a time when we are trying to grow the force to take the lead in the war on terror."

Cumming, Alfred. Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1 Dec. 2008. [Available at:]

"The lines defining mission and authorities with regard to covert action are less than clear. The lack of clarity raises a number of policy questions for the 111th Congress." These include: "By asserting that its activities do not constitute covert actions, is the Pentagon trying to avoid the statutory requirements governing covert action, including a signed presidential finding, congressional notification, and oversight by the congressional intelligence committees? Or, as Pentagon officials suggest, is DOD, in the wake of 9/11, fulfilling a greater number of intelligence needs associated with combating terrorism that are sanctioned in statute and do not fall under the statutory definition of covert action?"

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