Invisible Scalpel: Low-Visibility Operations in the War on Terror   [open pdf - 368KB]

"The War on Terror (WOT) is actually a war against extremist insurgents comprised of numerous and varied organizations scattered across the globe. They are spurred to action by an extremist ideology that is nurtured, demonstrated, and led by al Qaeda and its leadership. This ideology serves as the insurgency's center of gravity whereby it gains all manner of support across a broad spectrum of functional resources in multiple operational domains. As operating environments change, these ideology-inspired decentralized insurgent organizations are able to quickly adapt their methods of operation. In order to defeat this evolving, ubiquitous yet elusive threat, the US must develop a comprehensive strategy that incorporates all instruments of US national power, as well as those of its allies. This strategy must also defeat or mitigate the enemy's center of gravity in order to have any chance of success. This thesis argues that as lead combatant command in the WOT, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) should conduct continuous, global, preemptive low-visibility operations in order to disrupt insurgent operations. In order to accomplish its WOT missions, USSOCOM must effectively organize and array forces and resources to defeat insurgent functional resources across multiple operational domains."

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