Special Operations Forces: An Assessment

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DIANE Publishing, 1994 - 189 pages
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In this volume, John Collins speaks with the authority of one who was literally present at the birth of the low intensity conflict era. His long-term, intimate, and direct contact with the esoteric world of special operations has few parallels. Their roots go back in time and history considerably farther, but today's Special Operations Forces are largely products of the past three decades. Their development has been in response to the pressures of world-wide situations perceived to bear upon or which actually do affect American strategic interests. The use of raw military power may not provide solutions to the complex problems involved and may even be counter-productive. Special Operations forces, uniquely suited to fill the quasi-military gap, require the highest degree of professional competence in the application of the classical principles of war. This is a big order. It is difficult in a few words to pay John Collins the tribute he deserves for continuing efforts to educate both the Congress and the U.S. Armed Forces concerning the capabilities and limitations of special operations and the forces they involve. This latest addition to his carefully researched studies combines history, philosophy, factual data, and reference materials in a single document that should be on the desks of civilian and military leaders whose responsibilities relate in any way to special operations.

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Page 176 - It has a broad, continuing mission and is established by the President, through the Secretary of Defense, with the advice and assistance of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When authorized by the JCS, commanders of unified commands established by the President may from one or more subordinate unified command within the jurisdictions.
Page 173 - Group of programs authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and the Arms Export Control Act of 1976, as amended...
Page 168 - Operations that are so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of, or permit plausible denial by, the sponsor.
Page 170 - Political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Lowintensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of armed force. It is waged by a combination of means employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments.
Page 172 - Planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning and, ultimately, the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.
Page 173 - ... conducted in support of national foreign policy objectives abroad which are planned and executed so that the role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly, and functions in support of such activities, but which are not intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media and do not include diplomatic activities or the collection and production of intelligence or related support functions.
Page 174 - These operations are conducted across the full range of military operations, independently or in coordination with operations of conventional, non-special operations forces. Political-military considerations frequently shape special operations, requiring clandestine, covert, or low visibility techniques and oversight at the national level. Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from...
Page 173 - Activities conducted in support of national foreign policy objectives that are planned and executed so that the role of the US Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly.
Page 172 - Covert operationsPARAMILITARY (FORCES, OPERATIONS): 1. Land, sea, and air forces of a nation, which have a distinctive chain of command, primarily perform internal security functions beyond the ability of law enforcement units, and supplement the regular military establishment as required; 2. Guerrillas and other armed irregulars that use quasimilitary tactics and techniques. Sm» also Law enforcement; Military; tegular; Security troops.
Page 171 - Transferable command authority that may be exercised by commanders at any echelon at or below the level of combatant command. Operational control is inherent in combatant command (command authority).

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