Keeping Special Forces special: regional proficiency in Special Forces
Buswell, Philip A.
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Regional proficiency is a critical capability in irregular warfare (IW). In preparation for increased engagement in irregular warfare, the Defense (DoD) and the Military Services made several significant improvements in developing regional proficiency. While the DoD is attempting to create a new capability in the majority of the Total Force, Special Forces was created to succeed in an IW environment. As a result of its design, Special Forces valued and developed regional proficiency long before this became topical in DoD. Oddly, the last decade of overseas contingency operations which spurred interest in regional proficiency in DoD overall has also threatened regional proficiency development in Special Forces. An analysis of Special Forces training and development reveals that the Special Forces primary means of developing regional proficiency is through deployment experience. While the Special Forces Groups are regionally aligned, several have consistently deployed outside of their Area of Responsibility (AOR) to support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A survey and a series of interviews were conducted to determine the state of regional proficiency interest in Special Forces. Through survey analysis, several trends were identified. With this information this thesis concludes with a suggested strategy to improve regional proficiency in Special Forces non-commissioned officers (NCOs).
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