Special Operations Forces


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Dailey, Dell L. [LTGEN/USA], and Jeffrey G. Webb [LTCOL/USMC]. "U.S. Special Operations Command and the War on Terror." Joint Force Quarterly 40 (1st Quarter 2006): 44-47. []

"U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is structuring and posturing to lead Department of Defense (DOD) efforts in the war on terror.... [T]he command has been designated as the supported [emphasis added] combatant command for planning, synchronizing, and, when directed, executing campaigns against terrorist organizations."

Dobbs, Michael J. [CDR/USN (Ret.)] "Hype, Hope & Hard Facts: Getting a Fix on SSGN SOF Capabilities." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 134, no. 2 (Feb. 2008): 28-32.

"The obstacles to the SSGN [converted Ohio-class SSBNs] living up to its advertised capability for SOF operations include material, operational, and training.... The advanced SEAL delivery system is the biggest question mark for the SSGN program, because it is essential to the submarine's SOF capability."

Dolan, Ronald E. A History of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Oct. 2001. [Available at:]

From "Preface": "This report traces the history of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne) from its inception in October 1981....  Based on information from unclassified files of the 160th SOAR (A) and interviews with many of the participants, the report describes some of the major operations in which the unit has been involved, as well as the reorganizations that the unit has undergone in the past twenty years."

Dunlap, Charles J., Jr. [COL/USAF] "Special Operations Forces after Kosovo." Joint Force Quarterly 119 (Spring/Summer 2001): 7-12.

Dunne, Martha S. [LT/USN] "SEALs Need Dedicated Helo Support." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jun. 2001, 44-47.

"Special warfare forces operate extensively with surface and subsurface assets that deliver them from the sea, but they lack the rotary-wing support ... they need to carry out their littoral missions on land."

Dunnigan, James F. The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of U.S. Warfare. New York, Citadel Press, 2004.

Ferrell, William H., III [MAJ/USMC]. "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Status: Uniforms, Distinction, and Special Operations in International Armed Conflict." Military Law Review 178 (2003): 94-140.

The law of war (LOW) "delineates criteria that combatants must meet to gain prisoner of war (POW) status, and it obligates combatants to distinguish themselves from civilians. Further, the LOW limits the conduct that combatants can engage in while dressed in civilian clothing, violations of which may result in a loss of POW status as well as disciplinary action against the combatants and their superiors." [footnotes omitted]

Flynn, Michael T. [BGEN/USA], Rich Juergens [COL/USA], and Thomas L. Cantrell [MAJ/USAF]. "Employing ISR: SOF Best Practices." Joint Force Quarterly 50 (Third Quarter 2008): 56-61.

The airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi "was only a fraction of the effort to find and accurately target him.... Airborne ISR was a critical and necessary piece, but it alone was not sufficient to target Zarqawi. Instead, it was focused and directed by a robust all-source intelligence network employing human intelligence (HUMINT), detainee intelligence, and signals intelligence (SIGINT). This collection and intelligence analysis was part of a network of personnel, systems, and mechanisms woven into the daily operations of and directed by a joint special operations task force (JSOTF)."

Fury, Dalton [Pseud.]. Kill Bin Laden: A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man. New York: St. Martin's, 2008.

Morgan, Parameters 39.2 (Summer 2009), says that this "book is engaging, a well-written and readable 'page turner,'" that also has "strong research.... The entire book is poignant and compelling. Fury and his team are a real band of brothers-in-arms." The "fast-paced description of the battle and realistic portrayal of the allied Afghan warlords General Hazret Ali and Haji Zaman Ghamshareek are additional virtues of the book. Finally, the candid discussion of the operational failures and poor interoperability of American forces will make the volume a valuable contribution to lessons learned."

Gellman, Barton. "Covert Unit Hunted for Iraqi Arms: Amid Raids and Rescue, Task Force 20 Failed To Pinpoint Weapons." Washington Post, 13 Jun. 2003, A1. []

According to military and intelligence sources, Task Force 20, an Army Special Forces unit "operating in Iraq since before the war began in March, has played a dominant but ultimately unsuccessful role in the ... hunt for weapons of mass destruction." Among its other assignments, Task Force 20 "captured Palestinian guerrilla leader Mohammed Abbas in Baghdad in mid-April and the Iraqi scientists nicknamed Mrs. Anthrax and Dr. Germ; it fought a bloody battle behind Iraqi lines to prevent a catastrophic release of floodwaters from the Haditha Dam; and it retrieved Pfc. Jessica Lynch, an Army prisoner of war, from a hospital in Nasiriyah."

Gertz, Bill. "Congress to Restrict Use of Special Ops." Washington Times, 13 Aug. 2003. []

Restrictions on the use of Special Operations Forces, contained in the classified Senate report accompanying the current version of the intelligence authorization bill for FY 2004, would require "the Pentagon to first obtain a presidential 'finding,' ... similar to those required for covert-action intelligence operations," before deploying such forces.... The restrictions are not included in the House intelligence authorization report."

Gettleman, Jeffrey, and Eric Schmitt. "U.S. Kills Top Qaeda Leader in Southern Somalia." New York Times, 15 Sep. 2009. []

According to American and Somali officials, U.S. Special Operations Forces operating from helicopters on 14 September 2009 killed Islamic militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and other Shabab leaders in a daylight raid in southern Somalia. "Shabab leaders said that six foreign fighters," including Nabhan, were "killed, along with three Somali Shabab."

Goodman, Glenn W. "The Power of the Word: U.S. Special Operations Forces Used Leaflets and Radio Broadcasts to Sway Afghans." Armed Forces Journal International 139 (February 2002): 30-31.

Gordon, Michael R., and Mark Mazzetti. "U.S. Used Base in Ethiopia to Hunt Al Qaeda in Africa." New York Times, 23 Feb. 2007. []

According to American officials, a U.S. Special Operations unit, Task Force 88, deployed in Ethiopia and Kenya, "waged a campaign from Ethiopia [in January 2007] to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa, including the use of an airstrip in eastern Ethiopia to mount airstrikes against Islamic militants in neighboring Somalia." U.S. officials described the effort "as a qualified success that disrupted terrorist networks in Somalia, [and] led to the death or capture of several Islamic militants." The officials "said that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the alleged ringleader of Al Qaeda's East African cell, remains at large."

Haney, Eric L. Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorism Unit. New York: Delacorte, 2002. New York: Dell, 2003. [pb]

Publishers Weekly (via The author was "a founding member of Delta Force who retired a command sergeant major.... [H]is memoir covers his experiences during the formation and early operations" of Delta Force. Crerar, Army Historical Foundation Virtual Library [], says this book "is exceptionally well written and highly readable.  The text is taut, the descriptions lucid, and the actions clearly depicted.  A contemporary Delta insider alone would know if the tales have improved with the telling."

Hartbarger, Juanita T. "NGA Support Team Bolsters SOCOM's Special Operations Forces." Pathfinder (Jan.-Feb. 2009). []

This article in the unclassified NGA house organ discusses the work of the NGA Support Team (NST) with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). In carrying out its mission to provide "full-spectrum geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), the SOCOM NST has analysts working at ... SOCOM Headquarters ...and embedded" with "Special Operations units within and outside the continental United States."

Howard, Christopher B. [MAJ/USAFR] "Special Operations Are Not Just for Operators." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Feb. 2004, 48.

The author argues for "[o]ffering select intelligence officers ... a special operations career track."

Jogerst, John D. [COL/USAF] "Back to the Future: USAF Special Operations School." Air & Space Power Journal 21, no. 1 (Spring 2007). []

Established in 1967, the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field, Florida, "makes available a series of courses to meet the requirements of all regional combatant commanders" for an awareness of other cultures. Academics, ambassadors, and senior Department of Defense and civilian leaders deliver "timely and relevant blocks of instruction designed to enable personnel to work effectively with military forces and civilian populations" in various regions.

Jogerst, John [COL/USAF]. "What's So Special about Special Operations? Lessons from the War in Afghanistan." Aerospace Power Journal 16, no. 2 (Summer 2002). [http://www.]

"Watching the war in Afghanistan and listening to speculation about future US moves, one hears a lot of discussion about US special operations forces (SOF). The consensus seems to be that these forces are tailor-made for the unconventional nature and uncertainty of this war. Every war is unique, but if the uncertainty and chaos of the current war are characteristic of future conflicts, it is important to consider potential lessons from SOF's successes. Lessons learned by SOF over the last two decades and demonstrated in Afghanistan provide some signposts for future conventional forces and the ongoing transformation of the US military."

Jones, Frank L. "Army SOF in Afghanistan: Learning the Right Lessons." Joint Forces Quarterly 33 (Winter 2002-2003): 16-22.

"The successes of military operations in Afghanistan are being jeopardized by misreading them. Although Special Operations Forces are credited with defeating Taliban and al Qaeda foces, too much emphasis can be put on coordinating ground and air attacks while recruiting anti-Taliban fighters is underestimated. The latter capacity resulted from employing SOF assets in unconventional warfare.... The rise of insurgent and irredentist movements..., coupled with asymmetric threats, demands a strategic vision for unconventional warfare."

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