Command and Control of Special Operations Forces for 21st Century Contingency Operations
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The establishment of the United States Special Operations Command USSOCOM in the late 1980s created a single command designed to correct serious deficiencies in the ability of the United States to conduct special operations and engage in low-intensity conflict. Among other things, the creation of USSOCOM intended to correct problems associated with the command and control of Special Operations Forces SOF. However, these command and control problems still exist today. Recent contingency operations in Afghanistan and the Philippines have shown the command and control difficulties with SOF. The command and control structure established for Task Force DAGGER was ad hoc in nature and did not follow current doctrine. Although not perfect, the C2 structure established for Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines followed current doctrine and proved much easier to work with. Current doctrine is a starting point for establishing command and control structures and combatant commanders should follow this doctrine when establishing lines of command. Creating a Standing Joint Task Force is not the way for combatant commanders to establish their staffs. In contrast, this paper argues that the optimal C2 for SOF operations in the 21st century should be a blend of doctrine and practical lessons learned during recent combat operations.
- Military Forces and Organizations