Peacekeeping: March 5, 2005

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Another one of those little noticed side effects of the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is the sudden enthusiasm among army commanders for what the Special Forces can teach them about peacekeeping and civil affairs. The U.S. Army Special Forces were, from their formation half a century ago, trained to work closely with locals. This meant learning the language and customs, and getting results quickly. For years, the Special Forces have prepared lessons learned and how to do it documents for the regular army troops. But this stuff was just as regularly ignored. Were soldiers, not peacekeepers was the excuse most often given. No more. For the first time, a large number of Special Forces operators have been doing their thing in close proximity to regular army combat units, and the regulars have been impressed. The Special Forces guys are real pros, and are often called upon, by army units in the vicinity, to help them out with one peacekeeping problem or another. The Special Forces troops invariably have a solution, often a clever and creative one. As this experience worked its way up the chain of command, more senior army commanders began to ask if they could get some training advice from the Special Forces. Now they are getting it, although the stuff has been available for decades.

 


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