Maximizing the inter-service SOF handshake
Eldridge, Edward D.
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U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) and the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) forces conduct numerous training missions within South America in support of SOCSOUTH's strategy. Additionally, the two services routinely conduct similar missions with similar Host Nation (HN) forces. Historically, Army SF and NSW have lacked a strong operational 'handshake' when transitions occur between these HN units. Often, the results are redundant training with HN forces, lack of overall training continuity, a high expenditure for the results obtained, and an inability to more rapidly progress forward with HN training. The lack of inter-service communication between the Army SF and the NSW forces becomes more significant when the number of SOF available in the AOR is reduced. By addressing these key issues through more efficient inter-service communication, the present forces can more adequately respond to the current and future threats in the AOR. This thesis presents ideas that may help curtail excessive spending while increasing the ability of the two Special Forces service components, SF and NSW, to collectively work together with a greater understanding of each others capabilities and mission directives. This thesis investigates several factors that affect the efficiency of U.S. forces conducting training with HN countries throughout South America and focuses specifically on the troubled areas of Colombia and the Tri-border region of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, and their political, economic, and demographic uniqueness. It also takes a look into how Special Operations forces should be and are currently employed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, their strategic utility and overall effectiveness. Through analyzing these factors, the thesis identifies key elements that contribute to the effectiveness of the Special Operations Forces tasked with working throughout South America and refocuses in on the operational requirements, specifically informational reporting and dissemination, which could better facilitate an inter-service handshake.
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