Leadership: June 9, 2003


One of the less talked about results of the Afghanistan campaign was the Department of Defense giving SOCOM (the Special Operations Command) more money and the authority to run their own operations (in other words, to run their own wars.) SOCOM has not released many details of what this will mean, but it is known that SOCOM, which is a miniature armed force (with ground troops, an air force and a navy), has a very different approach to fighting wars. SOCOM troops are much better trained and led than regular troops. They are older, on average, than the rest of the armed forces. SOCOM uses fewer troops to achieve a task, and depends more on diplomacy, negotiation and unconventional operations. If a hostile force can be defeated by a few well placed bombs, bribes and assassinations, thats how SOCOM will do it. Most of the SOCOM ground troops are from the U.S. Army Special Forces. These men are trained to know the cultures and customs of the people they will be fighting against, or with (and often its both.) One idea being bounced around is to give SOCOM lead responsibility for an operation, and have the other services supply resources to a SOCOM run war. This has already happened with many commando type operations and, to a certain extent, this was how the Afghanistan campaign was run. If SOCOM gets a real free hand in the future, there will be some very different wars fought. 


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