Special Operations Forces


K - M

Kamps, Charles Tustin. "US Air Force Special Operations." Air & Space Power Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2005). []

"Headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Florida, AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] includes one colocated wing with combat, training, and foreign internal defense squadrons; a special-tactics group; and a Reserve group. Operational groups in Europe and the Far East include fixed- and rotary-wing squadrons as well as special-tactics squadrons. A National Guard unit in Pennsylvania operates the EC-130E Commando Solo psychological-operations platform."

Kibbe, Jennifer D.

1. "Covert Action and the Pentagon." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 1 (Feb. 2007): 57-74.

The period since the 9/11 attacks has seen "a blurring of the distinction of whether or not military units are conducting covert operations"; this "raises important questions about congressional oversight.... The military's role in unacknowledged operations is an increasingly complex issue and it remain to be seen how Congress will serve the twin goals of protecting the United States from terrorism and ensuring that there is sufficient accountability to the public."

2. "The Rise of the Shadow Warriors." Foreign Affairs 83, no. 2 (Mar.-Apr. 2004): 102-115.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "has made no secret of his plans to thrust special forces into the lead role in the war on terrorism, by using them for covert operations around the globe." Expanding the role of U.S. special forces "in the way Rumsfeld intends could be very dangerous for U.S. foreign policy."

Kiras, James D. Special Operations and Strategy: From World War II to the War on Terrorism. New York and London: Routledge, 2006.

Lillerud, I&NS 24.6 (Dec. 2009), sees the author trying "to impose a level of academic rigour to break through some of the myths of special operations by placing them firmly in the realm of strategy." This work "is well researched and makes an important contribution to its very difficult subject." However, the use of examples from World War II "may be of limited analogy in today's counterinsurgency campaigns."

For Cassidy, Parameters 36.4 (Winter 2009-2010), the author's "ideas regarding the use of special operations forces for strategic attrition are salient in the context of the precise and persistent elimination of enemy leadership infrastructure." To Vest, Air and Space Power Journal 24.4 (Winter 2010), the author "provides a valid and thorough overview of special operations strategies. His theories are sound, and their foundations solid.... Readers looking for a well-written, in-depth treatment of special operations in both past and future conflicts should add this book to their library."

Koskinas, Gianni [MAJ/USAF] "Desert One and Air Force Special Operations Command: A 25-Year Retrospective." Air & Space Power Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2005). []

"After the Vietnam War, the Air Force's special operations forces (AFSOF) had deteriorated so much that they could not respond to a situation in Iran.... We see significant differences in AFSOF units before and after Desert One. Veterans of that mission argue that before 1980, almost no one considered SOF missions integrated joint operations. After the rescue attempt, air commandos developed the modern notion of a joint SOF unit focused on counterterrorism.... The Desert One model has served the SOF community well for the past two decades, but 9/11 should change AFSOC [Air Force Special Operations Command] from a platform-based, single-model force to a capabilities-based force."

Lamb, Christopher J., and David Tucker. United States Special Operations Forces. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

According to Johnson, I&NS 26.4 (Aug. 2011), the authors argue that SOCOM should be "reorganized into two separate commands: one specializing in unconventional warfare and one specializing in direct action and commando skills.... The authors' expertise enables them to boil down complex history, theories, and debates into succinct chapters.... Occasionally, the arguments of the book are made too strongly or supported with insufficient evidence but overall the book is excellent,"

Lardner, Richard.

1. "Commando Leaders Shift away from Rumsfeld Strategy." Associated Press, 10 May 2008. []

The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) "has moved away from a contentious plan that gave it broad control over anti-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe." SOCOM commander Navy Adm. Eric Olson "has steered clear of micromanaging specific missions against al-Qaida or other terrorist groups. The command's primary focus is to ensure these plans are fused into a broader strategy for defeating extremist ideologies."

2. "Money Talks for U.S. Commandos." Associated Press, 18 Sep. 2007. []

The Defense Department is urging Congress to extend the authority that gives U.S. Special Operations Forces "up to $25 million a year to pay for information, buy guns for allied forces and hire fighters willing to battle al-Qaida.... The little-noticed authority, approved in 2004, has been a hit within the special operations ranks because it relieved these front-line troops of waiting for the CIA to distribute the cash." [Clark comment: Because it frees them from having to work with the CIA?]

Leebaert, Derek. To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations, from Achilles to Al Qaeda. Boston: Little, Brown, 2006.

A Publishers Weekly (via reviewer says that "[f]rom Gideon's terrifying assault on the Midianites in ancient Israel to the American Delta Force's special ops in the mountains of Afghanistan," the author analyzes special "operations in lively, if sometimes over-the-top, prose.... The last chapters of this mammoth book [688 pages], however, are drier, as Leebaert focuses on the relationship between politics and the use of special forces."

For DKR, AFIO WIN 11-06 (13 Mar. 2006), this is a "timely contribution to our knowledge of special operations." The author "shows that from the days of Alexander the Great onwards, ingenious, bold, and unexpected operations have been decisive in military conflicts. At the heart of such successes is a willingness to think outside the box and take high risks with small forces."

Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006), call this work "a vast undertaking. For those concerned with military history it offers much ... on a subject not dealt with in this magnitude elsewhere. And ... the role of intelligence is a major factor throughout.... Superbly documented and well written, this book deserves studied attention."

Lewis, Jon E., ed.

1. The Mammoth Book of Elite Forces. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001.

2. The Mammoth Book of Special Forces: Thirty Missions of Ultimate Danger Behind Enemy Lines, from WWII to Afghanistan and the Iraq War. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004.

Litt, David. "Special Ops Forces are 'Tool of Choice.'" National Defense 87 (Feb. 2003): 20-22.

Luttrell, Marcus, with Patrick Robinson. Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10. New York: Little, Brown, 2007.

According to Longino, Proceedings 134.5 (May 2008), this is the harrowing story of a special operation "mission that went awry." The author was the sole survivor of a four-man SEAL Team deployed into northeastern Afghanistan in June 2005. See Sean D. Naylor, "Surviving SEAL Tells Story of Deadly Mission," Navy Times, 16 Jun. 2007.

Mazzetti, Mark. "Pentagon Sees Move in Somalia as Blueprint." New York Times, 13 Jan. 2007. []

"Military operations in Somalia" carried out by the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command, "and the use of the Ethiopian Army as a surrogate force to root out operatives for Al Qaeda in the country, are a blueprint that Pentagon strategists say they hope to use more frequently in counterterrorism missions around the globe."

Miller, Greg. "U.S. Seeks to Rein in Its Military Spy Teams." Los Angeles Times, 18 Dec. 2006. []

According to senior U.S. intelligence and military officials, U.S. Special Forces teams, known as military liaison elements (MLEs), that have been "sent overseas on secret spying missions have clashed with the CIA and carried out operations in countries that are staunch U.S. allies, prompting a new effort by the agency and the Pentagon to tighten the rules for military units engaged in espionage."

The MLEs are deployed "to American embassies to serve as intelligence operatives.... The troops typically work in civilian clothes and function much like CIA case officers, cultivating sources in other governments or Islamic organizations. One objective, officials said, is to generate information that could be used to plan clandestine operations such as capturing or killing terrorism suspects."

Moore, Robin. The Hunt for Bin Laden: Task Force Dagger. New York: Random House, 2003.

Stein, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2003, says that this book "is fast-paced and immensely entertaining, in a ... cartoon-strippy way. Page after page, Moore's prose reads like a defiant country-and-western anthem.... (It should be noted ...that ... Moore was hardly 'on the ground with the Special Forces in Afghanistan,' except in the loosest sense of the phrase. This is the barroom version of the war, as told by their balladeer.) Nevertheless, it often rings true.... Moore does reach a kind of ground truth in his narrative of Special Forces at war: the dangerous, sometimes thrilling but unpredictable nature of combat."

For Clemens, MI 30.4 (Oct.-Dec. 2004), this "book's strength is the chapters on operations with the NA [Northern Alliance], based on interviews with SF soldiers." However, "some chapters are more fully developed and better written than others." Moore's "analysis is unquestionably subjective.... This book is strictly a heroic portrayal of a military victory." In addition, the "sections covering operations after December 2001 relied on ... a source [who] proved dubious" and whose "fraudulent past casts doubt on parts of the book."

Mullin, T. J. Special Operations: Weapons & Tactics. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003. Barnsley, UK: Greenhill, 2003.

From publisher: "First-hand expert Mullin dissects the key components of special ops training and the variables which come into play when perfecting technique.... His analysis, infused with personal anecdotes, takes in the full spectrum of military operations, including maritime missions, and the rural vs. urban battlefield. There is also considerable information on non-firearm usage, such as specialised armour and ammunition."

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