Special Operations Forces


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Newman, Richard J. "Hunting War Criminals: The First Account of Secret U.S. Missions in Bosnia." U.S. News & World Report, 6 Jul. 2000. []

Report on efforts to use special operations forces to capture "persons indicted for war crimes" (PIFWCs) in Bosnia. "[F]or at least the past year, a U.S. special operations task force has been conducting one of the broadest covert operations since the Vietnam War, gathering intelligence on PIFWCs and helping to seize them in a series of raids."

Pincus, Walter, and Dan Morgan. "Congress Supports Doubling Special Operations Funding." Washington Post, 5 Jun. 2003, A31. []

The House and Senate "have authorized a doubling of spending" for Fiscal Year 2002 "for new equipment and high-tech gadgetry" for U.S. Special Operations forces. At the same time, "a key Senate committee ... has raised questions about the Pentagon's oversight" of one of Special Operations Command's "highest-priority projects: development of a tiny submarine designed to carry Navy SEALs close to enemy beaches and to gather intelligence in hostile waters.... Final decisions await a House-Senate conference on the bill and subsequent action by the two chambers' Appropriations committees."

Polmar, Norman. "The ASDS Is Sailing Rough Seas." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 132, no. 1 (Jan. 2006): 88-89.

On 30 November 2005, U.S. Special Operations Command announced that it was cancelling "plans to acquire a fleet" of the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) submersibles. The sole ASDS, delivered to the Navy in 2003, has been plagued with troubles throughout its trials. At present, "there is no schedule for the construction of additional submersibles."

Priest, Dana. The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America’s Military. New York: Norton, 2003.

Cassidy, Parameters 34.4 (Winter 2004-2005), calls this book "a current history of the US military's role in peace operations, small wars, and unconventional warfare in the 1990s and the early part of this decade." The author provides "a readable and useful account." The middle part of the book "focuses on the roles of the Special Forces as trainers, clandestine operators, and de facto diplomats in potential and real hotspots." Priest's account of the Special Forces' role in the war in Afghanistan is "interesting and relevant.... She presents a very readable and colorful description of the Special Forces' actions during the opening phases of Operation Enduring Freedom."

Pugliese, David. Shadow Wars: Special Forces in the New Battle against Terrorism. Ottawa: Esprit de Corps Books, 2003.

From Publisher: From Afghanistan to Iraq, this book "details operations by U.S. Army Green Berets and Delta Force, U.S. Navy SEALs, Air Force and CIA special operations troops, along with Australia's Special Air Service, the British SAS and SBS, Poland's GROM, and Canada's JTF2. Also recounted is the highly-controversial raid by Russia's Alpha Group to rescue hostages held by Chechen terrorists in Moscow in the fall of 2002."

Pushies, Fred J. Click for listing of Pushies's numerous works on special forces.

Risher, Paulette M. [MAJGEN/USA] "U.S. Special Operations Command: Effectively Engaged Today, Framing the Future Fight." Joint Force Quarterly 40 (1st Quarter 2006): 49-53. []

"U.S. Special Operations Command is unique because it can act as a supporting or supported command, and it has its own budget authority and program objective memorandum. Its relatively small number of assigned forces (49,000) and portion of the defense budget (1.7 percent) offer a tremendous advantage: the abilty to combine a service-like force provider role with a supported war-fighter role."

Robinson, Linda.

1. "Inside the 'New' Special Operations Forces." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 135, no. 7 (Jul. 2009): 26-33.

This is an excellent, concise look at the state of SOF today'. Robinson's comments on the changing interface between SOF and conventional forces are particularly noteworthy. Many things depend on an individual's point of view, but to imply that Mulholland's 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was first into Afghanistan in 2001 is to take cheerleading too far.

2. Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces. New York: PublicAffairs, 2004. 2005. [pb]

According to DKR, AFIO WIN 46-04 (13 Dec. 2004), this work "chronicles the role of the U.S. Army's Special Forces over the past 15 years and its operations in Somalia, the first Gulf war, the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Gulf again.... Robinson provides a good backgrounder on a type of military operators that are likely to have increasing importance in America's 21st century conflicts." Keiser, Proceedings 132.1 (Jan. 2006), expresses disappointment over "the absence of endnotes and references." Nevertheless, the author "presents a first-class examination" of Special Forces soldiers.

3. "Men on a Mission: U.S. Special Forces Are Retooling for the War on Terror. Here's Their Plan." U.S. News & World Report, 11 Sep. 2006, 36-38.

The comments of Director of the Center for Special Operations Lt. Gen. Dell Dailey and SOCOM Commander Gen. Doug Brown stress the importance of both "black" (hunter-killer) and "white" (training and civil affairs) special operations.

4. "The Men in the Shadows." U.S. News & World Report, 19 May 2003, 16-20.

"[S]pecial operations forces in Iraq played a key role in America's emerging model of precision, lightning-fast warfare. With the premium it puts on the use of real-time intelligence, pinpoint weapons targeting, and rapid transition from attack mode to stability operations, this new style of warfare plays perfectly to the unique skills America's special operators have been honing for years.... [In Iraq,] America's most elite fighting forces ... helped change not only the pace and prosecution of the war ... but the way America will fight an enemy force in the future."

5. "Walking Point: The Commandos Taking the Lead in the War on Terrorism Suddenly Have Some New Rules." U.S. News & World Report, 18 Oct. 2004, 46-50.

"In a rare visit to SOCOM [Special Operations Command] headquarters in Tampa, U.S. News was given a detailed briefing on SOCOM's new structure and missions, as [Gen. Bryan "Doug"] Brown prepares to make his special operators the point of the spear in the terrorism war." Includes sidebar: "The View from the Inside," pp. 48-49.

Ryan, Mike. Special Operations in Iraq. Barnsley, UK: Pen & Sword Books, 2005.

From publisher: This book "reveals the ... story of the Special Force units of the Coalition, such as the SAS, SBS and Delta Force.... It describes their missions behind the lines from the early days, well before hostilities opened formally.... The book also covers operations such as the spectacular rescue of POW Private Lynch and the secret operations to target Saddam and other leaders of his regime."

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