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Special Warfare: Restructuring for the Future

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The special forces operational detachment-alpha SFODA has remained virtually unchanged since its inception in 1956. However, throughout its history, the SFODA has frequently been augmented with various assets, particularly civil affairs. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the SFODA in its current form and make recommendations for its future composition and focusing of resources. Throughout its history, the SFODA has been augmented to accomplish its missions during conflicts. Particularly frequent has been augmentation by civil affairs and psychological warfare personnel. As special forces plays an important if not leading role in low-intensity conflict, they will continue to rely upon these assets. This thesis approaches the challenge of restructuring the SFODA by examining three cases in which special forces, or special operations forces, were used World War II the Jedburghs and Detachment 101,Vietnam special forces, and Afghanistan special forces. Based on an examination of these cases, this thesis offers recommendations on force structure, recruiting, and training for the future.

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