SOF - Special Operations

DoD says SOF-traditional force roles blurring

5th January 2018 - 14:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The US Department of Defense (DoD) has commented on the increasing crossover between conventional and special operations forces that will see future general forces take on more missions traditionally carried out by special ops forces.

As reported by the DoD, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the experiences of war since 9/11 have ‘blurred the lines’ on the battlefield, something that is likely to continue – not as a matter of strategy, but as a result of policy and the growth of general purpose forces’ capabilities.

The expectation is that general forces will take on more missions in Iraq and Syria. General purpose forces already support the French mission in the Trans-Sahel region in Africa.

This will be reliant on general purpose forces expanding their capability set into areas once associated primarily with special forces, as with the evolution of UAS missions over the past two decades which were once carried out by special forces, but have now become a mainstay of the general force toolkit. 

The Defense Secretary explained that which force carries out which mission will be decided on an ad-hoc basis. Mission parameters will be determined and passed onto the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will then determine what forces take on that mission. He added that these ‘may be special operations forces or general purpose forces with unique capabilities’.

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