Accomplishing American Strategic Goals in the Middle East through Persistent Special Operations
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEFENSE ANALYSIS DEPT
Pagination or Media Count:
As the war in Iraq draws to a close, the importance of the United States indirect influence in the Middle East will increase. The large footprint of the U.S. military in the region since 2003 has proven unsustainable for the long term in terms of stress on the conventional Army, acceptability to the population of the Muslim world, and patience of the American public. Further, this large-scale conflict, and the focus it has required, has diminished American ability to conduct indirect operations elsewhere in U.S. Central Commands area of responsibility CENTCOM AOR. Regional engagement programs provide a means to increase partner nation capacity and enhance indirect U.S. influence, but such programs are not achieving the strategically significant gains that Special Operations Forces have been able to achieve in the region. This thesis explores how Special Operations Command Central SOCCENT might improve its conduct of regional engagement through a regionally coordinated persistent presence. The thesis uses two cases studies, Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines OEF-P and U.S. SOF in Central America during the 1980s, to evaluate the strategic utility of U.S. SOF. Each case study is examined using a background, force structure, mission, and analysis format. Background includes both the U.S. policy goals that drove U.S. intervention in the region and the initial conditions that U.S. forces encountered there. The force structure centers primarily on the command and control structure and the organization of operational forces. Mission describes the types of operations conducted by U.S. SOF. The analysis portion assesses the effectiveness of U.S. forces to promote strategic goals.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare