Surrogate Warfare: The Role of U.S. Army Special Forces   [open pdf - 359KB]

"United States Army Special Forces (SF) has played a critical role in prosecuting the Global War on Terror. Their ability to wage unconventional warfare remains their trademark. Operations in Afghanistan and northern Iraq demonstrated SF's ability to successfully leverage a surrogate force to achieve U.S. objectives. These UW campaigns were unique in many ways and suggest what future unconventional warfare operations in the Global War on Terror may look like. However, this was not guerilla warfare characterized by small units using hit and run tactics. This was positional warfare in which cities were taken, ground was held, and the enemy capitulated or defeated. The Northern Alliance and Kurdish Peshmerga functioned as surrogate armies in place of U.S. conventional forces and they were controlled by U.S. Army Special Forces. Analysis of the two most recent UW campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq suggest that cultural awareness and regional expertise are critical to conducting surrogate warfare, as well as the ability to function as an operational-level joint headquarters capable of planning and supporting a UW campaign."

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