Very hard to disagree with anything this article says. ((HOWEVER)), increasing special operations forces (SOF) is constrained by a set of iron laws, the five “SOF Truths”:
1. Humans are more important than hardware.
2. Quality is more important than quantity.
3. Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
4. Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after an emergency occurs.
5. Most special operations require non-SOF assistance.
To put a fine point on it, if we try to crank up the pipeline now, we may not get significant benefit before the Presidentially-mandated disengagement point for Afghanistan. Then, we could find ourselves, as we did after Vietnam, over-resourced with special operators. Some of us can remember standing on a PT field at Fort Bragg every morning in 1976-77-78 and receiving the latest play-by-play as to whether our Special Forces Group was going to be deactivated in the post-Vietnam drawdown. Other elements of the US Government can relate similar experiences.
If there is a bright side to this, IMHO, it would be that there does not today appear to be the antipathy toward SOF on the part of conventional forces that existed during the Vietnam era. A former colleague, well known for competence and dedication to some of you, visited his Army assignments officer while assigned as an A-Detachment commander in the 10th Special Forces Group, then at Fort Devens, MA. His assignments officer told him, “… see, you’re not soldiering. …” I think that is less of a problem today, but I’m not sufficiently sanguine to believe that the knife fights will not recur as resources tighten while conflicts and attendant requirements persist indefinitely.
Phi Beta Iota: Not mentioned in the article are the fact that Private Military Contractor (PMC) firms have been allowed to rape, pillage, and loot the ranks of Special Forces. Retaining highly-qualified individuals and outsourcing indiscriminately are a contradiction.
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