Interdependence and Conventional and Special Operations Forces: A Decade of Tactical, Operational, and Strategic Effects
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Interdependence between conventional forces CF and special operations forces SOF has developed significantly since the initiation of Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001. This study examines the effects interdependence achieves through the lenses of Operation Anaconda and the 2007 Iraq surge. It argues that CF and SOF are tactically, operationally, and strategically interdependent, and their effects are operationally and strategically synergistic when they intentionally work in concert with one another. The study additionally examines the historical mission command, cultural, and communication barriers to interdependence through those same operations. Operation Anaconda was the first post-911 operation that required CF and SOF interdependence. However, the prevalence of the aforementioned historical barriers combined with the circumstances leading up to Anaconda led to accidental and fractured cooperation, and the operation fell short of its intended decisive effects. Consequently, Anaconda demonstrates the limits of interdependence when the Army and its leaders do not deliberately invest in it. Conversely, the 2007 Iraq surge demonstrates the evolution of CF-SOF interdependence over the preceding five years. It reveals a general absence of those historical barriers and refined, deliberate, and practically institutionalized interdependence achieving synergistic operational and strategic effects.
- Military Forces and Organizations