Strategic leverage : information operations and special operations forces
Mitchell, Mark E.
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Special Operations Forces (SOF) have assumed a unique and expanded role as a strategic asset of the United States. The conjunction of changing political and security environments and new technologies present both challenges and opportunities for SOF. Special Operations Forces provide the National Command Authority (NCA) a variety of unique capabilities and expanded options for achieving strategic goals at minimum costs. The recent drawdown has placed even more value on the capabilities and leverage provided by SOF. Additionally the rapid pace of technological change - the "information revolution" - has opened the door to a potential "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA). New approaches to warfare, like Information Operations (IO), are beginning to emerge from the RMA. Information operations, like SOF, can also provide a means to leverage limited resources. At the strategic level, SOF can provide support for IO; at the tactical level, IO can support of special operations (SO). Each has distinct implications for SOF. In either case, the object of the supporting operation is to generate or expand a window of opportunity for the supported operation. Separately, both SO and IO can provide economy of force. Properly employed, this leverage is multiplied and offers a tremendous strategic asset.
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