Command and Control of Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan: Is Unity of Effort Good Enough?
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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The conflict in Afghanistan is currently in its eighth year and the United States Government and its NATOISAF partners are in the process of rethinking their entire strategy. Eight years of counterinsurgency, counterterrorist, and stabilization operations have thus far resulted in an ever steady increase in the level of violence, an unprecedented resurgence of Taliban control and Al Qaeda operations across the entire country, and has arguably brought the entire US and NATOISAF effort to the precipice of mission failure. At the forefront of efforts in Afghanistan are USOEF and NATOISAF Special Operation Forces SOF. The organizational command and control structure for SOF in Afghanistan is a major shortcoming in SOF effectiveness, and does not follow the Principal of War Unity of Command, and only vaguely supports the idea of Unity of Effort. In spite of the similarity of mission, operational focus and capabilities, within the confines of the theater command and control architecture, USOEF and NATOISAF SOF and their mandates are separate and distinct and essentially operate independently of one another. Arguably the most flexible, dynamic and productive force in Afghanistan, changes to the SOF organizational command and control structure could yield significant results.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Command, Control and Communications Systems