Educating for Strategic Thinking in the SOF Community: Considerations and a Proposal   [open pdf - 1010KB]

"In 2002, then Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld challenged the Special Operations Forces (SOF) world by giving United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) the lead in planning for the war on terrorism. In the 2005 Unified Command Plan, USSOCOM completed the transition from a supporting command, with the responsibility to provide forces to other regional United States (U.S.) commanders, to that of a supported command. Former Secretary Rumsfeld clearly saw that the 21st century strategic environment presented significant challenges for a conventionally oriented military. With his directives USSOCOM became a full fledged strategic military actor, but the change raised questions about the SOF community's preparation for its new strategic responsibilities. The image of tactical 'snake eaters' and individual and small unit tactical focus appear to be in direct contrast to the increasing strategic role of SOF senior leaders and staff members. Equally important, increasingly SOF will be placed in situations where poor tactical decisions can have significant negative strategic consequences or the fleeting opportunity for positive strategic effect is revealed. How well are SOF personnel prepared for these roles and how best can the SOF 'operator' acquire strategic awareness and appreciation and develop strategic thinking abilities for his level? The objective of this monograph is to examine the issue of 'strategic thinking' in SOF: What is the future need and how should the community develop and better inculcate strategic thinking in its members?"

Report Number:
JSOU Report No. 07-2
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
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