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Special Operations And Cyber Warfare

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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As the United States Special Operations Command USSOCOM prepares for future conflicts, somehave questioned its ability to conduct Special Warfare and Surgical Strike in all domains of warfare, toinclude the cyber domain. This thesis examines the applicability of cyber operations to U.S. specialoperations and whether the cyber support provided by the United States Cyber CommandUSCYBERCOM is sufficient to meet USSOCOMs potential cyber requirements. It exploresUSSOCOMs congressionally mandated core activities and how cyber operations could promote suchactivities. Finally, the thesis provides a decision theory and operational design analysis of how USSOCOMcould build its own internal cyber capability - if USSOCOM determines USCYBERCOM cannot meet thecyber requirements of the special operations community.The researcher was unable to conclude as to whether USCYBERCOMs cyber support to USSOCOMwas sufficient. USCYBERCOMs cyber support structure is still too immature for analysis and thereforenecessitates future research by USSOCOM. The thesis does conclude USSOCOM can improve theirspecial operations efficacy by incorporating the cyber domain. Finally, the research concludes,if USSOCOM were to build a cyber capacity, the reflagging of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade would bethe best course of action.

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