The Olive Branch and the Spear: Merging Diplomatic Actions and Special Operations in Conflict Prevention
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
In the wake of a diplomatic refocusing where Smart Power becomes the new guiding line for foreign policy, the U.S. military leadership progressively advocates the necessity to prioritize light footprint and small-scale engagements. Focal point of these two tendencies, the political ambition to foster a merging process between Special Operations Forces SOF and the Department of State DoS for addressing pre-conflict instability is of critical importance. Heavily involved in stabilization and nation-building operations over the past decade, both SOF and DoS have to readjust their priorities toward engagement-oriented and indirect approaches, in order to successfully take up the conflict prevention challenge. Assessing the robustness of an operational merging process between SOF and DoS down to the lowest levels of execution requires analyzing this interagency mechanism through four phases education, training, planning and execution. Interviews and surveys among SOF and DoS experienced personnel allowed to identify three criteria for success organizational cultures, procedures, and unity of command. Considering the willingness, interagency experience and structural frameworks already developed in both organizations, this thesis formulates final recommendations conditioning a successful achievement of Commando-Diplomat Task Forces in conflict prevention.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics