As special operations adapt and evolve to meet new challenges, SOF need to
prepare themselves and be employed in new and unique ways. The questions
posed in the Special Operations Research Topics 2023 booklet address many of
these complex challenges and invite research into the intersection of human
history and emergent technology. The nearly 40 research topics, each including
several sub-questions, range from compound security threats in the Sahel to the
Russian and Chinese ways of irregular warfare in an effort to facilitate research
and writing across professional military education, academia, and the joint force.
America has often developed very impressive methods of waging war and protecting
strategic interests, but all too often, its senior leaders are too optimistic about how
much those methods can actually accomplish. The heart of U.S. national security challenges today is an ongoing erosion of American influence globally. What the U.S. now
requires is a modification of older ideas in ways appropriate for the modern age. The
works contained in this edited volume are signposts of a future that America still has
time to choose wherein its efforts to safeguard its people and protect its interests can
be remade and reforged in ways appropriate and successful in this era of dazzling technologies and enormous global change.
In this Quick Look, Dr. Alessa describes ArcticNEXT, a collaborative effort designed to provide the Nation with the best available approaches for compound security threats in strategic competition. Together with JSOU’s constellation of partners and participants, ArcticNEXT is providing, for the first time, cohesion and critical mass in service of SOF’s mission set as well as to the Joint Force. While it uses the Arctic as a test bed, its broader focus on compound security threats in strategic competition provides tangible outcomes and products.
In this edited volume, the authors pose solutions to Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) future challenges. Looking to the national defense strategy, this volume describes the role of competition in the future and the three ways SOF can compete, deter, and win. SOF must maintain their edge, and their transformation needs to be addressed at the individual, organizational, and institutional levels. This volume takes risk into consideration while addressing SOF transformation in three key areas: SOF roles and missions, culture, and great power competition. Both U.S. and Canadian SOF perspectives are outlined in this volume, and each chapter urges readers to consider how SOF might better compete short of armed conflict.
This sweeping monograph chronicles the history of modern Special Operations Forces (SOF) and insightfully describes their new challenges. The authors have compiled an excellent, concise history of SOF’s three earlier ages: 1941–1960, 1961–1979, and 1980–2020, setting the stage for projecting SOF’s Fourth-Age roles in the emerging era of strategic competition. The early years were not easy, but with determination and perseverance, the SOF community prevailed, and four decades of remarkable and unprecedented SOF achievements resulted. As they begin their Fourth Age, SOF will again be challenged.