Naval Helicopters and SOF: How Joint Are We
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Little emphasis has been placed on Naval aviations support of Special Operations Forces SOF, although recent operations in the U.S. Pacific Command USPACOM and U.S. Central Command USCENTCOM areas of responsibility have proven the genuine requirement for a credible Special Operations capability within Naval helicopter communities. SOF personnel are routinely supported by conventional Naval helicopter assets however no formal joint instructions or common standard operating procedures exist between U.S. Special Operations Command USSOCOM and the U.S. Navy. This undoubtedly, has opened the door for USSOCOM queries into issues of credibility, standardization, and safety. This paper will explore the historic bond between SOF and Naval aviation, describe inadequacies in joint training, and expose philosophical roadblocks and misconceptions regarding Naval aviations Special Operations capabilities. Establishment of a Memorandum of Agreement between USSOCOM and the Chief of Naval Operations will standardize techniques, tactics, and procedures TTPs and enable legitimate use of conventional helicopter assets to facilitate SOF training and limited operational missions in support of Operational Commander time-critical mission requirements. Achievement of Special Operations Capable designation prior to deployment will legitimize Naval unit capabilities in the joint environment, and restructuring the JAAAC process will dramatically improve SOF training deficiencies. Implementation of these recommendations will dramatically improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of SOF operations while ensuring a smooth transition to a true joint SOF capability.
- Military Aircraft Operations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics