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Joint Special Operations University SOF-Power Workshop: A Way Forward for Special Operations Theory and Strategic Art

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The individual military services utility to the nation is defined and enhanced by the science and art of their application, often referred to as the military strategic art. Service strategic art is guided by broad warfare theories, principles, and specific experiential learning gained by using a distinct type of force in the physical domain in which they operate. This domain-centric approach has led to the development of theories for air warfare, land warfare, and sea warfare. Taken together these service theories provide the basis for service and joint doctrine and the U.S. practice of joint warfare. They also provide a basis for professional development within the services and support the development of resourcing requirements. Advocates of spacepower have also taken a domain-centric approach in advancing space theory and strategic art. In addition, while cyber-war has been designated as an across-domain capacity by Department of Defense DoD, cyber-war theory and practice are informed by an understanding of the medium of a virtual, electronic terrain, the capabilities required to maneuver within it, and a strategic art of offense and defense. Yet, with 70 years of modern experience the nations Special Operations Forces SOF have no articulated theory of Special Operations and institutionalized strategic art. SOF-Power, while increasingly used in practice, has learned and relearned the lessons of application without the support of an articulated and accepted Special Operations theory and strategic art. An increasing interest in and demand for such a SOF theoretical foundation resulted in the Joint Special Operations University JSOU Strategic Studies Department conducting the SOF-Power Workshop and this report. The SOF-Power Workshop brought together a group of interested persons to explore the following key questions Is there a SOF power Is there a need for Special Operations theory and strategic art What are the parameters of such a theory and art

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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