US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
In 2013, United States Army Special Operations Command USASOC published ARSOF 2022 which defined the two primary capabilities of US Army Special Operations Forces ARSOF as special warfare and surgical strike. Much has been studied about these capabilities independently, this work examines their interdependent nature during a special warfare campaign. During recent special warfare operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, these two capabilities have been employed with the intention being complementary. However, the methods and details of employment have varied from campaign to campaign. This work analyzes four operational-level special warfare campaigns during OEF and OIF to identify effective techniques and principles that can be applied when utilizing surgical strike capabilities in support of a special warfare mission, thereby increasing the special operations capability of the US. Finally, based on the findings presented in this research, the author provides recommendations on how to best enable US Special Operations Command and 1st Special Forces Command Airborne to provide the necessary capability to meet current and future demands for surgical strike-supported special warfare campaigns.