Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is it time to completely reorganize US Special Ops?

Is it time to completely reorganize US Special Ops?

Fanboys will instinctively say no, but they aren't persuadable.  If you hear me out I think a case can be made.

During the war on terror, we saw the Special Ops Community grow exponentially.  It was started by a desire on the part of that community and a belief (false it would seem) on the part of decision makers that SOCOM could deliver where conventional troops had failed.  They would win the war on terror, inflict less civilian casualties, improve relations with the locals and cost less in the long run.  The added benefit of them working outside of the spotlight meant that they would be able to conduct long term counter insurgency operations without the public or Congress becoming alarmed by the duration of the conflict.

Fast forward to today and what do we have?

We have a force that is under strain.  They're being overused, and they've pawned off missions to the conventional force in response.

What was that?  Stop bumping my gums and get to it?

I propose that SOCOM totally reorganize.  For better or worse they've developed into a Raid, Raid and only Raid force.  Reorganize with that idea in mind.  How do you do that?  I'll leave that to others but the current force structure is not working.  Neither is the mission sets.  If they focus on only raids then we need a different mix of units.

Rangers/MARSOC will become the go to units and SEALS/Special Forces will become more specialized and less utilized.  What about USAF Special Tactics?  I have absolutely no idea.  I've never understood the idea of PJ's in SOCOM.  Combat Weather has always mystified me.  Combat Controllers too.  From the outside looking in it seems that they simply duplicate what is already provided.

In short, SOCOM got everything it wanted and because it did it's breaking itself.  I recommend a back to basics movement but I doubt that happens.

It's rarely discussed on military blogs but Special Ops Forces are vulnerable to conventional forces.  That's a fact.  The problem?  Terrorist are starting to field what looks more and more like "mini" nation state armies.  I'm talking full on artillery, armor and infantry that looks and fights like regular troops.

The template of the enemy has  changed and SOCOM has yet to adjust to that reality.

An additional problem is the overuse of the "playbook".  We are getting more indications that the enemy has learned how we do work.  They are adjusting and that is making operations more perilous.

We either reorganize US Special Ops our we will see another Black Hawk Down.

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