Special Operations Forces and Conventional Forces: Integration, Interoperability, and Interdependence
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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The SOF-CF integration, interoperability, and interdependence I-3 demonstrated during Operation Red Dawn was born out of necessity, much like in the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. U.S. forces were not always open to this sort of synergy, but the last 15 years of conflict have changed the operational paradigm. Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, SOF and CF normally worked in separate areas of operation as a matter of doctrine. The 1986 edition of Army Field Manual 100-05, Operations, limited discussion of SOF operations to actions deep in enemy territory, working with indigenous forces, and performing deep reconnaissance, strikes, and raids. The 1993 version of the manual still described special operations as geographically separate from conventional operations. In this era of Air Land Battle, SOF and CF deconflicted their activities in time and space, and executed their missions independently of one another. As the Global War on Terrorism progressed, both forces found themselves operating in close proximity, increasingly dependent on each other for mutual support, but without mechanisms to operate together effectively.3 Initially, the joint force faced several I-3 challenges such as incompatible communications, inefficient command and control, and unfamiliarity with the tactics, necessity, much like in the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. U.S. forces were not always open to this sort of synergy, but the last 15 years of conflict have changed the operational paradigm.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Military Forces and Organizations