Special Operations Forces (SOF) and a Theory of Modern Terrorism   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Loosely labelled as 'terrorism studies,' much about terrorism has been learned through experience and research. Members of academia, think tanks, and the policy and security professions have contributed to a wide-ranging analysis and commentary on various aspects of terrorism they find of interest. Most of these contributions are useful and constructive, and some of them are contradictory. Military doctrine writers have taken advantage of this renaissance to continually improve doctrine. Policymakers and strategists have also selectively mined these resources. While terrorists' adaptability will always offer something new to comment on, the pieces of a comprehensive theory of modern terrorism are already visible within this research and commentary. […] This article synthesizes and outlines such a theory and illustrates some of its implications for Special Operations Forces (SOF). Current U.S. strategy documents essentially state that the United States is confronted with numerous security challenges and while these potential challenges are known and can be categorized to some degree, the specific details of exactly who, what, where, how, and when can only be anticipated, not predicted with certainty. […] To meet these challenges, the U.S. military is pursuing a hedging strategy, preparing to address multiple threats, known and unknown, and building increasingly sophisticated and adaptive forces. In doing this, SOF assume the main U.S. military role in the 'war on terrorism.'"

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Joint Special Operations University: http://www.jsou.socom.mil/
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