Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Special Operations Forces Bracing for Arctic Missions


via National Defense.
For the past two decades, U.S. Special Operations Forces have deployed to some of the most dangerous and inhospitable places on the planet to combat terrorist networks. With the Pentagon increasingly focused on great power competition, they may soon find themselves spending more time in a region that presents a unique set of challenges — the Arctic.

In 2019, the Defense Department released its latest Arctic Strategy, which noted the important role for special operators.

“DoD’s desired end-state for the Arctic is a secure and stable region in which U.S. national security interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is defended, and nations work cooperatively to address shared challenges,” the document said. “The agile and expeditionary nature of SOF, combined with established allied and partner relations and interoperability, provides DoD a ready capability to compete below the level of armed conflict in the Arctic region, and across the spectrum of SOF core activities.”

Special operators have played a central role in the post-9/11 wars conducting direct assault missions, the most famous being the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But unless terrorist groups set up shop in the High North, SOF will play more of a supporting role in the Arctic using a wide range of skill sets, officials and analysts say.

U.S. Special Operations Forces include Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, Special Tactics airmen and other elements.

“We do a lot of stuff, and frankly, the majority of what we are assigned in the SOF community are missions that are in support of the general purpose forces, who obviously in the Arctic will … be the biggest chunk of the American activity there,” said Steve Bucci, a retired Special Forces officer and a defense analyst with the Heritage Foundation think tank. “Pretty much all of the missions we can do anywhere else, we can do in the Arctic; … we’ll just do it in a lot colder environment with a lot more challenge to get it done.”



I just don't get the mindset.

SOCOM is basically being given the "rest of the world".  The USMC/USN/USAF/US Army are all focused on the Pacific with various other mixes of the general purpose forces being tasked with a few other areas.  Korea is Army/Air Force.  Europe is an all Army/Air Force affair.  Middle East is Army/Air Force/Navy party.

The Marine Corps and most of the Army is out of the small wars business with only (probably) the 82nd, 101st and a few other Army light fighters available to support them in N. Africa and the Middle East (God help us all if S. America goes crazy but its already a SOCOM play ground).

My point?

SOCOM has enough on its plate without trying to grab a role in the wide open arctic.

Most of the world will belong to SOCOM.

No need to grab a piece of the pie in the Pacific or Arctic....

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