Advice from SOF on the Use of SOF for the Next Administration
CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA ALEXANDRIA
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On October 14, 2016, CNA convened a half-day meeting of experts to discuss the use of special operations forces SOF by the next administration. Our speakers and panelists consisted of a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and six former SOF Commanders whose rank at retirement ranged from one to four stars. Our audience of approximately 50 attendees consisted largely of active duty SOF and their civilian equivalents, ranging from the rank of Major to Lieutenant General. The conversation was held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution to facilitate a frank exchange of ideas. The discussion began with a keynote brief on the dynamics of the current and likely future security environment, which prompted significant discussion on actions the next administration could take to ensure SOF are being used strategically and in line with their full range of capabilities to address future security challenges, while simultaneously preserving and balancing the force for the future. The remainder of this proceedings document will summarize that keynote presentation and discuss four overarching themes on the use of SOF and some associated recommendations for the next administration that were made by our attendees.