tv Oppose Any Foe CSPAN June 3, 2017 8:04pm-9:02pm EDT
♪ ♪ >> but tv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. between us, twitter .com/booktv or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook .com .com/book tv. >> good morning, welcome to the heritage foundation. douglas and sarah's auditorium. we welcome you to who are on our heritage .org and on c-span tv.
for those in house we would ask that courtesy that our mobile devices would have been silence or turned off. for those watching online or in the future, you're welcome to send questions or comments simply e-mailing speaker at heritage .org and of course we will post today's program on the heritage front page for everyone's future reference as well. meeting our discussion today is daniel and he is our policy analyst in european affairs and margaret thatcher for freedom and it focuses on transatlantic security issues, his writings have been featured in real clear world, foxnews .com, breitbart .com and his provided expert analysis in over 100 radio and television appearances. is also served as a panelist at the transatlantic thing take conference in brussels, belgian and provide a parliamentary evidence united kingdom house of the lord select committee on the arctic. prior to joining us on heritage
at the thatcher center he worked at a nonprofit in washington dc as a policy analyst as well as on the advisory board company as a research associate and associate director. please join me in welcoming daniel carmack. >> thank you john and thank you this morning. is available wednesday in washington were honored today to be joined by mark moyar was book "oppose any foe: the rise of america's special operations forces" was described by national review as an invaluable and highly readable overview of special operations forces history, not just those who are newly joining its ranks but also for anyone who seeks to know more about these glamorous and little understood forces. our author mark moyar is director of the center for military and diplomatic history here in washington dc and he has served as professor at the us marine corps university and a senior fellow at the joint special operations university. he has advised the senior
leadership of several us military commands as well. he holds a ba, summa complot from harvard and a phd from cambridge. in addition to the book that we are talking about today he also wrote a number of other words including: building partner nations and ending poverty through human capital that i read in grad school, strategic failure how president obama is a drone warfare defense cuts and military amateurism have imperiled america, a question of command counterinsurgency from the civil war to a rack, triumph forsaken the vietnam war, 1965 and phoenix and the birds of prey. with that said, i look forward to your discussion and i'll turn it over to you doctor randy carmack.
>> thanks for that kind introduction. and thanks for inviting me here. it's great to be back at the heritage foundation. i will talk about the book a little bit, i can't cover the whole thing in this presentation but i will hit on some of the highlights and will have some time for questions and answers at the end. just to provide a little bit of backer, the reason i wrote this book was at the joint special operations university we started a course on the history of special operations and discovered that there was not a single volume that we could really look to to give the history of the origins of world war ii all the way up to the present. most of what, i think, special operations forces understand about their history is episodic and certain bits of pieces. there hadn't been something to pull it all together. as i was writing this, special operations has become a huge part of our overseas engagement and there is not enough understanding among the policy
world about what actually they do. i will start off by with a little bit of intro -- even in the policy world there is not too many people who understand what the different parts of special operations forces are. i want to talk about that for a minute. at the top there you have special operations command, us so, and that is the umbrella organization for special operations forces located in tampa, florida. i'll talk about how that came into existence. below it are the component commands within the special operations world and all of the services have them -- you'll see up there. there's second from the right there, judge special operations command which is comprised of operators from multiple services and will get into how that is important into being. there is a lot of confusion about what special operations forces themselves are and a lot
of that has to do with the fact that they sound like special forces. special forces are part of the army so they fall into that bucket on the left. special operations forces is the umbrella term for everything so, if you can remember one thing from this talk, remember special operations forces are not the same thing as special forces. so, let's start off talking about world war ii because world war ii provides the impetus for first special operations forces and it also paves the way for future forces. most of what we see today can trace its roots back to some degree to world war ii. special operations get going first on the uk side with winston churchill. after the fall of france, the british are faced with another war against germany and churchill, like a lot of rates,
does not want to fight another world war one style war where full generation of young men are decimated. he tries to come up with ways to come around that. one thing he does try to get the russians due to a lot of fighting and that worked out pretty well. then he has a strategy of rating harmony on the periphery with this new organization called the commandos. they're lightly equipped, part of that is because they left most of their equipment back at dunkirk when they took off and this is a way to be doing something without getting involved in this huge vest on the continent. once the us comes in, the roosevelt administration decides it wants to try to get more involved with the uk and one of the first opportunities that comes along is to work with these commandos in an organization called the armor rangers is set up under william
orlando darby and they work with the commanders, work with the commandos and one of the first missions the rangers go on is the rate at the app on the french coast which turns out to be a complete disaster, the germans wiped out most of the landing force and as a result of this disaster, the allies move away from this idea of rating on the coast because a it is not working and be you are not doing much to hurt the axis powers by doing this. by the time the rangers are getting up to speed their taking part in the big campaign of the war. first, in north africa and subsequently italy and france. to give you a little bit from italy, they take part in a major landing at sicily and salerno in anzio. initially, some of their special training comes with amphibious
landings but once i get a sure they end up fighting primarily as conventional infantry, not a lot of opportunity to sneak around, the germans as there had been with some of the less capable italian and french forces they dealt with in north africa. when they get to anzio, an early attempt to move in land, leads to the battle of. [inaudible] on january 30th 1944 were two of the ranger battalions are sent to take this town and they run unexpectedly into a german division which completely wiped them out. out of 767 troops only six escape from the disaster. so, this shows pretty clearly that the rangers are not capable of fighting this conventional war based on their equipment and we will see them mostly get phase out over time.
the marine corps side we have the formation of the marine corps raiders in january of 1942. here, president roosevelt is directly involved in two forms these raiders based on the advice of his son, james, was a junior marine officer who is enamored of this guy evans carlson who is shown the other picture and he has these romanticized view of commanders and gorillas running around causing problems for the japanese. the marine corps commandant, when he hears of this crazy idea and says, there's no way we should do this the president take the advice of his son and so, the marine raider battalion is formed. as with the rangers, they have some initial successes but when the war becomes increasingly conventional they endure a number of setbacks including this one in the new georgia campaign which again will lead ultimately to phasing out those units.
on the navy side, the frog men are created -- mainly to clear obstacles for amphibious landings after the debacle where the marine landing craft iran into obstacles and had their bottoms torn out, these units would go in, set demolitions to break away the chargers and were generally considered successful in doing so. then we have within world war ii, the oss which is its own special operations forces. this is william j donovan the head of the oss. he's trying to find out places to put forces -- a lot of the regional commanders don't want his people there but he does find willing partners in the china, burma, india theater partly because is not a lot of american forces there so he does organize what is detachment 101
and it was given that number because he didn't want the enemy to know they only had one unit. they partner with the kitchen forces after some trial and error, there's a lot of the initial attempts don't go well and there's not local partners they can work with, people to train them. in detachment 101 they found a leader who is actually capable and they form what's called the american. [inaudible] rangers who work together with more conventional units against the japanese and scouting and rating, highly effective force. in europe, the oss forms jed berg units which are small freeman teams that parachute in to the german rear to work with the resistance organizations after d-day. locally, they have a lot of success and, i think, i argue we tend to overestimate their effectiveness on strategic
scale, if you look at this chart there's only 222 jet birds go in which is much smaller than the operational groups which is another oss. both of those are smaller than the 1574 in the british sas. when you think about what really caused trouble for the germans, the resistance is not high on the list. the deception campaign that was done to mislead the germans was the most important in terms of a slowing the german response and strategic bombing came in second. while there were some impacts, we tend to overestimate perhaps the strategic impact but they're still certainly a lot of reverence for the jet birds and we now have a different program today. at the end of world war ii, almost all of the special operations forces are disbanded. a lot of this has to do with the fact that they didn't turn out as effectively as and hope.
only the frog men to retain some of their strength and that's again, be they were perceived as being especially effective. the book goes into a full chapter on korea which i won't cover in the interest of time but a lot of interesting stuff happens there to include in his formation of the army special forces and i'll touch on the kennedy. because this is the next critical moment. kennedy is a huge fan of the special forces and, i think, he has a romanticized view of what they can actually accomplish but you will see when he comes then there's 2000 and he orders an increase to 10500. which seems great but one of the problems you have with the lead units is if you build them up rapidly you can't be so elite. when he comes in 90% of the people who try to qualify fill out but in order to reach the expansion they're only filling out 30% of the people so you do
see a certain degradation of quality. you have, on the navy side, kennedy pushes for the creation of the sea and land teams, seals as we knew them today, which originally started as a counter insurgency marine counterinsurgency force. in terms of vietnam, it's a mixed record of success and failure. some of the programs work out pretty well but none are strategically decisive because it does become a conventional war by 1965. the c idg program which is particular program working with local forces is the largest program ever done and pretty effective in mobilizing tribes against the enemy. so, what happened next? in the 70s there's a surge of hijacking and terrorism which creates a lot of consternation
and as militaries coming out of vietnam and looking for things to do, this is something where it seems there could be a role for special operations to play. so, the first thing that happens in 1974, the rangers are brought back to life as the lead counterterrorism force. then there's the not as being elite enough so 1977 we have delta force which is an army unit. the most elite army unit and in 1980 we see a seal team six which is that navy attempt to produce an equivalent to delta force. initially, these are all focused on hostage rescue. the first big mission, operation eagle claw in 1980, delta force is set to rescue the iran hostages. they sent helicopters to a place called desert one in the system and from there to trenton because of mechanical problems
and other problems they don't get enough helicopters to get to the mission and have to scratch it and when they try to move there's a crash between the helicopter and aircraft and there's a fire and eight americans are caught in the fire, killed and not able to retrieve their bodies before they have to leave. huge setback but it does lead to some reforms that are of great value to special operations forces. so, the first one -- one of the problems identified in eagle claw was that you had an ad hoc command structure and was thrown together late in the day and was not sufficiently coordinated. this will lead to the the joint special operations command. there's also a problem with the aircraft, aircraft failure is pivotal in this debacle and they brought together pilots and aircraft that weren't familiar to deal with this problem they
create that night stalkers, 160th special operations aviation battalion to give them a dedicated air capability. the next few years this further reform which culminate in the creation of so calm, special operations command which is the 1986 which is his result of special operations advocates and supporters in congress pushing for legislation. the first thing that they get is so calm special operations command which is a as i mentioned earlier, a four star headquarters in tampa. the second thing they get is asb's which is assistant secretary of defense for special operations low intensity conflict and this gives special operations a presence inside the pentagon where budgets and other things go on where it's useful to have a player at that level.
the third thing they get is msp 11, major force program 11 which is a separate funding line that special operators felt they were not getting their fair share of resources and then fourthly, they get a set of nine missions that are said to be special operations specialties. it seems coming out of this, special operations has finally gotten what they need, they had these great things going for them but it turns out it's not quite as rosy as one might hope. by the way, the guy on the right in that picture is not clark griswold he has the clark griswold haircut but that is senator nunn. here we go. so, we get to desert storm, 1990, general sports cop is on the left is the commander of central command which is one of the regional combatant commands. on the right you have general
carl steiner who is the command of so calm and one of the thing general nine did not do is give so calm at actual authority over the forces deployed. that authority still resides with the original commander, general sports cop. it's up to so calm to make the case to schwarzkopf that these spaces are valuable and so steiner goes to him and pleaded with him to get his forces opportunity to take part in schwarzkopf and not known for particularly liking special operation forces ends up giving them not many important missions and so calm guys feel like at their stuff on the bench with the court units not getting to do the stuff they were hoping to do. the next seminal event for special operations is 911. important for all americans but
perhaps for no one more important than american special operation forces. we had, shortly after, president bush is trying to figure a way to get back at the caliban so, he sends in the cia and army special forces to work with the northern alliance the rebel group fighting against the taliban and and this is the picture of some who go on and ride around on horseback. the americans are not actually prepared for afghanistan and they have special operations assigned to this mission are all affluent in arabic and french because they thought they would be doing middle east missions but they do have one skill that turns out to be crucial and that is the ability to guide munitions and help the northern alliance quickly overcome the taliban resistance, defeat the taliban and throw them out and
chase al qaeda out and this is seen, rightly, as the most single most strategically important role that special operation forces have played. not too long, thereafter, we have another regime that we want to take down in a rack and initially there's some talk that were going to use something similar to afghanistan, soft, heavy force of elite units moving around, blowing things up with lasers precision guided missiles but they figure out that it's not a big resistance movement and saddam hussein has a lot more forces. it is a largely, can internal and it comes mainly from the southeast, from kuwait but the south does play a significant role in diversionary operations, in the west they set up a tank unit that is designed to make it look like there's a lot more things coming and in the north
the south supports the kurds which forces saddam to move some of his forces to the west and north, hence away from the defense of baghdad. it works out. well for soft here too. now, as we all know the difficult part in the rack and afghanistan was not taking the regime down but figuring out what happened "after words". in the immediate afterword of the rack, we saw chaos and this rise of an insurgency that is fueled by a saddam hussein and so calm are called in to do man hunting and find saddam and his sons and they do track down both of them and here is saddam after he is captured by the special operators and he's hurt initially that the decapitation strike is going to put a lid that it will fall apart now that saddam is gone but unfortunately
there are others who are ready and willing to take up the charge then we find ourselves in a prolonged insurgency campaign and around the time we have general stanley coming in as a commander in tact for 714 is the task force he sets up in a rack and at the time it was not particularly active and there was not elite forces should be doing the daily operations and they should the. saddam has shown us not that i can work and he looks for a way to ramp up their operations and does so very effectively. you can see from here that there was only ten operations. month when he comes in 2004 and it goes up to 302,006. this is made possible by advantage in communications technology, also by the fact
that the iraqis are using cell phones and computers without a lot of thought to the fact that they're getting intercepted. quite impressive and a lot of people think at the scale we can in fact, destroy the insurgency. we also have on the white soft side which is another term that people sometimes get confused about but white soft is basically the operators who are not part of j sock and is mainly special forces and maybe forces at this time. they also decide they want to do this surgical strike provision raid and go out and haul out bad guys in the middle of the night. this is a move away from their traditional goal in working with local forces and populations and will come under fire within the community for taking them away from that.
what we think of counterinsurgency typically working with local forces to secure the population is actually done mainly by conventional forces and we will see over time there is better collaboration between special operations and general-purpose forces. initially, a lot of the software running around and doing things by themselves and thought this would win the war and they pressed off a lot of the conventional commanders were to go in the next morning and explain to the population what had happened and clean up the mess. over time, they learned to work together and what they did to be mutual reinforcing and there's a myth and counterinsurgency that you don't need to actually capture the enemy and that's false, i think, but you had a division of labor for the special operators would go in and do the capturing, killing of leadership targets while the conventional forces would do more population security and
they would go in and stir up a hornets nest and reveal targets. it's only, really for that combination in 2007-2008, that you suppress the insurgency. so, after that happens we move our military, senator of gravity to afghanistan and special operations continue to do the targeting killing, capture missions but they also decide it's time to do more of the traditional working with population type mission and so they come up with village stability operations in which a lot of the soft units go out and work in villages and they work with afghan local police which are locally recruited policemen who are basically intended to secure the village and keep the television out. i iran a whole separate study on
this, which were free to look at online, to sum it up briefly it was relatively effective and again it depended a lot on the local afghan but it was never on the scale that was big enough to fundamentally kill the tilt the scale of the war, not like iraq. there was not done in enough villages. another thing that happens while this is going on is that the lot and gets killed by navy seals from j sock and it seems to be obviously gratifying for americans to get rid of this guy but there are, it turns out, didn't quite work as well strategically as we had hoped. there's a big bash lack in pakistan for the violation of their interface at airspace which operators got kicked out of pakistan from various where their areas were insurgents wanted to be targeted. they shut down our drone the base they are and al qaeda
continues on, bin laden by this time is produced enough lieutenants and spread them out that the organization can survive. it also promotes for a time the administration touts of the positive aspects increases idea that we can win strategically with these raids, we don't need the big counterinsurgency missions or other types of things. this then leads to what is known as the white footprint strategy where we pull out our conventional forces in iraq and afghanistan and, i argue, both cases result in catastrophic. in iraq we saw the rise of isis and in afghanistan we saw the large amounts of territory that we had previously held taken. in libya, our unwillingness to commit forces there leads to ben ghazi and civil war. yemen our emphasis on surgical strike result in the academy taking over and wiping out our
full intelligence apparatus there. the last few slides here don't have any cool pictures and their little bit more of the policy conclusions, a little bit drier. i put them at the end so that you are awake for the rest of the presentation. i will just cover some of the big takeaways from the book that are relevant to today. we have a new administration, which like most does not have particularly good understanding of the subject, although we are fortunate that it does have several senior military people who do understand these issues quite well. the first of the four main issues that the book covers is a question of presidential leadership and the first point i want to make on that is that presence, oftentimes, are interested but don't know much and when they don't know much
they oftentimes expect too much or expect the wrong things. there are other presidents have come to office without that same interest but in our world they actually are oftentimes situations being as extent as we are were special operations may be the only option, carter with the iran hostages or clinton with somalia and they find that suddenly they hear something they may be up to help them. we also see presidents can lose interest quickly. especially if they have these unrealistic expectations and then they go in and find out that things didn't work as well as planned and smalley is a good idea where clinton thought we could take out it quickly and it would be the end of it and when it doesn't work he loses interest in special operations. the other point i would mention is that sof would offer particle put is purposes.
you can hide what sof is doing more easily than what other instruments so, lyndon johnson for example in vietnam use them to pitch the enemy quietly because it was an election year and he didn't want vietnam to attract too much attention. so, that something we need to be careful about. second of the themes of the book is the roles and missions of special operations forces. the book traces over time how these have evolved oftentimes and of doing things they weren't prepared for. even with the creation of so come, sof still have to show their relative to policymakers, regional commanders and they have to keep reinventing themselves. we also find when we get to wars oftentimes there are new things that have to be done that they weren't prepared for and we have to maintain a degree of
flexibility. counterinsurgency is one of the more controversial areas in terms of what sof can and should be doing. there's a lot of people that say counterinsurgency is a thing of the past and we didn't like it any rack in afghanistan so let's dispense with it and we find, as a nation, we are oftentimes fighting wars we didn't plan on so it's worth keeping for that reason. also, a lot of the counterinsurgency capability you want, it can be used in supporting insurgency which is something we are doing right now in a number of countries. lastly, the question of capacity building or training and assisting partners is something, i think, sof will continue to do as we there's always an appetite is country to have other people do difficult things rather than sending our people to do it themselves. the third theme is the effectiveness, a lot of
controversy about how effective and sof has been especially when you get to the strategic level where it's less clear and it's pretty easy to tell whether you captured a target or destroyed a building, whatever but when you get to strategy there's a lot more leeway for subjective interpretation. one point i would make is the local actors in these conflicts play a huge role and we think the americans are the one will decide things but usually, it's dependent on the local people that we can support, help certain people but if you don't have strong allies to begin with you won't get very far. also, when you think about effectiveness you have to think about what are the costs to your conventional forces when you move, resources to the special forces, special operations forces. third point i'd make is strategic impact is going to be
limited, usually by scale. you simply can't produce enough special operations forces, in most cases, to have a decisive impact on their own. this is worth remembering because we keep saying there's a tendency to think that special operations can be strategically effective and when we think that we usually try to reach far. the last point, last theme of the book, is the relationship between special operations forces in the conventional military forces. this has been a problem from the very beginning and part of it is simply human nature. when you have one organization that is touted as being special and it goes around pulling the best people you will create resentment and the rest of the organization. it's not to simply jealousy but there is a valid argument to be made and is often been made by conventional forces that if the police forces out and put your talent out of one party organization and focus them here
that the rest of your organization is going to suffer. you won't have the leaders or the ncos you might need. that's something worth bearing in mind as we think about the way forward. conventional forces may not be in high demand now but there's a good chance we may need them for something otherwise we wouldn't still have them. so, we have to take a long-term approach. if you think about expanding -- this continues to be a temptation to expand sof and there was were up to 70000 in 2016. i think we need to be careful as we so diluted are talent pools and some of the services that it's not a wise idea to move any further. the last point i would make is that in general, sof and conventional forces usually are most effective when they work in
tandem together and this is something that depends on leadership on both sides and that is that is one of the points i hope to get across in the book. thank you very much for your attention. i will take some questions now. >> thank you, thank you so much for that very thorough and intriguing discussion. i would like to take some q&a now. if you could, please state your name and any institutional affiliations and please wait for the microphone when you are called upon. if i could, ask the first? you talked about president clinton getting disenchanted with special operations after somalia. i'd be curious the region is becoming hotter, i think, in the current sphere, what is the role of special operations in the balkans in the us-nato
involvement in the late '90s? >> yes, that's a great question. software called upon to work with communities in the balkans trying to maintain the peace and they did do some of the targeted raids because there wasn't much killing going on at that point. the big lesson they took away from the balkans experience was that we help them develop their ability to work with local communities, again, something seen as a strength of special operations but one they seem to get away from in iraq when there's so much force on the precision strike. this is something we get to the village's stability program in 2010, a lot of them will cite their experience in the balkans as something that helps them develop their skills to go into
an unfamiliar environment, to understand population, how to identify from the formal and informal leaders are and to work with them. >> greg formally of the united afghan pakistan border, iraq, congo et cetera. looking forward and thinking about the challenges that we will face, particularly, in the war of terror. how do you view the role of the special operations special forces in dealing with the outcome of the conflict, nadia has a great new book on that that you've probably seen and read or heard her talk about but saying that one of the things that is lacking in the way we planned and executed our wars is that we haven't given enough attention to managing it for a
successful total outcome among the population and in the countries affected by the war. so, as a former usaid guy and having served close to the special forces and other operations on the military side, how do you view the potential and the opportunity and risk of dealing with what happens after the war from the special forces perspective and on the perspective of the possible relationship between the special forces us aig or other state and aspects of the civilian government? >> great question. nadia is actually a very good friend. she was instrumental in setting up the center for military and diplomatic history that i now run and she is now helping to category military strategy at the white house. i fully agree with her book.
we do, in general, tend to underestimate the challenges that were going to run into and part of it is additionally, dod is expected the civilians to do it but we don't have the civilian capacity to do it. the book i wrote before this which i spoke about inherited a for leads i went into more detail on this. one of the big problems we encounter is that we don't take on a holistic view of stability in these countries and the big three sectors that we tend to focus on our: security, governments and development and when you look at the government security we have dod has that and development has been usaid and the government gets lost in the shuffle. we don't really have an agency focused on that. that is a big area where we need to improve. i think the military has a role to play their and civil affairs
actually could do a lot there. special operations can play a certain role but again, it's us issue of scale. there's so much else they have to do that their ability to work in nonsecurity fields is somewhat limited. what i argue is in terms of long-term capacity where special operations have made the most difference is where they've taken a role in long-term leadership development and columbia being the prime example where special operations went in and worked with the central training education institute of those countries and that's how you develop a leaders over the long-term. we have to do it when they're in military academy or command staff because that's when you can actually affect culture which is a critical ingredient. if you go out and train people on the shotgun or on the rifle range, which we do a lot of, the
long-term value of that i don't see as being that big. i certainly think we need to more strategically think in the long term because, as you point out, it's a lot easier to change the regime and to establish something in its place and, fortunately, where things are in the middle east right now will be in this business for a long time. there certainly a temptation to to continue to whack a mole approach where special operations are going in and killing terrorists and failed and failing states and again, we've seen that over and over but it's unlikely you'll solve the problem that way. you do have to come up with ways to develop the governments in the security and at the same time you need the development part of it which will ultimately allow the countries to fund their own government securities
so that were not untapped for everything. >> dan, association of the united states army. could you comment, mark, the integration of sof and gps, general-purpose forces so they can achieve a lasting stability because everywhere we look, we're taking the whack a mole and we focus on a problem and we fix it everything is perfect and then we leave it and the problem comes back. are the roots and underlying causes haven't been addressed. from the political level to the military level and the integration on the diplomacy, defense and development, we don't have our eye focus on that long ball and integration and balance between what the specialist guys think that only can do or can do better and what the conventional forces are. that line seems to be blurred and there is recognition that something is wrong but i don't
see anybody actually acting to fix that or to raise that issue. anything you can send that would be appreciated. >> that question two of the overlapping omissions has been there from the beginning and the try to serve doa with -- they said were bringing in special operations for this missions and that's what they do and everyone else or something else but in reality it's never quite played out that way. partly, because of circumstances in the conventional military didn't want to do counterinsurgency particularly, certainly, the army. but when you get to iraq or afghanistan the scale is such that those guys have start doing things that we thought sof with you and then sof made the things that you could argue conventional forces to do. certainly, when we went into iraq it was not well thought through how this would come together and special operators were a lot of time doing their own thing and, you know, in any
organization people tend to not want to follow someone else's authority they would like to what they want to do. but we've seen, we've learned counterinsurgency, unity of command is really important and if you have people going into an area, arresting people or shooting people, and may disrupt what the commander for that area is trying to accomplish. i think we've learned, we have gained awareness of that in the latter years of iraq and afghanistan. there was better cooperation between the sof elements in the conventional elements and there was an attempt which i go through in the book which is socom command has for some time wanted to gain independence from the regional combatant commanders and actually rumsfeld pushed it early on and try to
get socom to essentially become independent man hunting command and socom was not very interested but wanted that to a stock to a degree to get on. you had other socom commanders come in, particularly emil craven who wanted to get to that point of having socom be independent or having more independence in the deciding where to put its forces and that ended up generating resentment among the combatant commanders and congress and ultimately failed. you do have there's an enduring problem they are that you have you could certainly argue there is value to having forces that transcend all the regional command which is the argument that the craven was making that these guys use al qaeda processes, combatant commander boundaries and we've heard talked about change where there's not going to be regional
commands but i think were in that part for now. the regional command in general make sense, in terms of maintaining a unity of command. in terms of integrating better, i think, that certainly that needs to be further explored. just a couple weeks so general thomas was that congress saying how his special operators are getting burned out because there's 8000 who are actually doing most of the operational missions and we keep sending the same people over and over and over while at the same time, conventional forces are getting properly used. were starting to see a shift on this. if you look at syria, somalia, we are sending conventional forces they are and i would argue that were conventional forces can do most of these things. there sometimes awful claim them as their exclusive purview but ultimately, it's sof best interest to let the general-purpose forces do more of the stuff because if you look
at this make a lot of these guys have more than ten deployments, the mental health problems and divorce, suicide are increasing and as general thomas that it's not sustainable. this administration, hopefully, will figure out a better way to spread some of the burdens of these low intensity wars across the broader military. >> you commented briefly on the village stability operations in afghan local police raid as i recall, you said that was viewed as that was viewed as rather successful but couldn't take it to scale. my experience was that really pled nicely into the office of transition initiatives in the regular aig programs looking at the whole territory you are trying to impact.
what likelihood do you think there is that those models bso and lp would be viewed as important tools and be expanded because of that? >> that's a great question. we've just had a new usa administrator nominated, mark greene, he is a very exciting development and he in particular recognizes the value of programs like this they do cross the security government nexus and my sense is he'll be quite interested and in general, there's the perception among this administration that we've tried too much to treat development in isolation and that we need to try more closely to our broader objectives, for national interests. certainly, within the special operations immunity there is
quite a bit of interest in the general concept of village stability operations afghan local police. at the same time, there's pressure to keep viewing the surgical strike type operations. it will depend, i think, on high-level leadership and administration, how much they want to do with this, there are some counter forces that are arguing against anything that sounds like nation building. my own view is that we are already enmeshed in nationbuilding and we will be doing it, to some extent, we can do it more smartly though in certain respects. the other thing you have to keep in mind i was doing work with socom in the aftermath of alp and bso and there was a lot in special operations wanted to
take that model to other countries but they iran into a lot of trouble first from the state department which didn't necessarily like bringing in military into the area and some of that was undo suspicion of the military within the last administration there were a lot of people that believe the military can worsen problems in security, which i think is not at all the case, many countries are military has been the forefront of improvements. colombia, el salvador are great examples of that in the afghan army was the best institution they had but you had that and then you also had local governments simply don't want to let you in to do that. i think were getting our state department set up at the moment so i'm guessing they'll be more receptive to expanding in areas
of this type. >> final question. >> if i could ask a final question, can you talk about the role that technology played in the development of special forces and whether or not as strategic adversaries special forces gain increased technology and how that changed us effectiveness for our forces. >> technology was, i'd say, critical in the first decade of the century. first with a precision munitions that enabled special forces to defeat the tallow man in a way that few people thought possible. very small number of our troops
with this position munitions capability allowed the northern alliance to take areas that for years they've been unable to make any headway on. then, it's critical when you get to iraq and afghanistan counterinsurgency that you would never have been able to do these massive industrial scale raids under earlier technologies. vietnam we try to do things like this but the reality was you couldn't get information quickly enough to get people to where they need to be. by the time you got there, the enemy would be gone. when you suddenly have cell phones and laptop computers, proliferating in iraq, people are using those and we had the capability to use that to find people. things could have been very different in iraq without that. now, i think, more recently it seems like -- we certainly exploited that to some extent like syria but our enemies do seem to be catching on and they
become more careful in using encryption and other means to hide what they're doing. the minute we used to have a monopoly on drones but some of our enemies are using drones against us and some of our adversaries are getting better and better at cyber warfare in our edge has eroded. i think in terms of what special operations forces do it's hard to say because we know what the next conflict will hold. if you're talking about conventional war, we could easily see war with north korea or iran or even possibly, china heard those words will have different circuit technologies that we probably didn't anticipate. i think the brushfire wars of the middle east will maintain an edge but it seems like were not going to have the solve these
problems necessarily through our technological superiority. >> thank you, doctor p3 for coming to discussion today and for leading us. thank you to the audience for coming to the heritage foundation. a reminder that this program was posted on a webpage within 24 hours and there are copies available of his book in the lobby and i'm sure that you would be happy to sign those for anyone who would like to have the program.
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