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Forming Standing Joint Special Operations Task Force Headquarters

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Strategy research rept.

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Special Operations Forces SOF within a Joint Task Force are controlled by a Joint Special Operations Task Force JSOTF. Presently, JSOTF headquarters are formed around the core of the Theater Special Operations Command TSOC, a service SOF headquarters, such as a Special Forces Group, or from a composite staff. These methods have significant shortcomings the TSOCs ability to support SOF throughout the theater is reduced, a Special Forces Group is not trained or staffed to run a JSOTF at the component command level, and a composite staff element requires a substantial amount of time to operate effectively. This paper suggests an alternative way of providing a JSOTF headquarters that avoids these pitfalls. The recommendation is to establish a standing JSOTF headquarters within each TSOC. Included is an analysis of the major benefits and drawbacks of the proposal, an examination of alternative and interim solutions, and a proposed organizational structure for a standing JSOTF headquarters. Forming standing JSOTF headquarters is a controversial issue. No unit or service is anxious to give up personnel to support an organization whose role is invisible to most except during a crisis. Some will contend that there is no real problem. JSOTFs formed in the past where ad hoc and they managed to get the job done. Our country, though, has now been attacked on its own shores and as a consequence, the nation is fully engaged in a global war on terrorism. Winning this war is our militarys top priority, but to win it, we must be agile and global in depth. Standing JSOTF headquarters would give SOF an almost immediate command and control capability that is effective at the earliest moments of a crisis. They could provide this capability without detracting from the TSOCs ability to support other, perhaps simultaneous SOF operations in the theater. SOF will lead the militarys war on terrorism.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations

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