Force of choice: optimizing theater special operations commands to achieve synchronized effects
Woolshlager, Richard S.
Wright, Fredrick J.
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SOCAFRICA, a theater special operations command (TSOC), executes the full spectrum of Special Operations in complex environments, emphasizing the indirect approach to operations. The operational emphasis on preventive activities in a steady-state environment provides access, awareness, and options to the U.S. and its partners in the event of crises. Special Operation Forces (SOF) have doubled in size over the past decade, and SOCOM has built tremendous capabilities in that time, but TSOCsthe regional-level SOF organizationshave not shared in these capability increases. Because TSOCs are under-manned and under-resourced, they are not capable of effectively applying the indirect approach to achieve long-term effects for Geographic Combatant Commanders and Chiefs of Mission. Change is needed to improve TSOC effectiveness. This thesis will analyze the organizational shortfalls of TSOCs through the lens of the newest TSOC, SOCAFRICA, and will examine USSOCOMs Global SOF Network concept which intends to provide authorities, capabilities, and resources to TSOCs to make them the force of choice at the regional level. SOCOM has established a road map to optimize TSOCs. However, the GSN alone is not capable of implementing the necessary changes; it will require commitment and continued support from the individual services, the GCCs, and from Congress. t
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