Counterinsurgency and its implications for the Norwegian Special Operations Forces
Rothstein, Hy S.
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This study explores the Norwegian Special Operations Forces' capabilities to cope with today's security environment which is characterized more by unorthodox threats like, for example, insurgencies, and less by "conventional" wars between nation states. Thus, this study raises the hypothesis that that the Norwegian Special Operations Forces (NORSOF) is less than optimally suited for counterinsurgency operations. Using the dichotomy of a direct approach vs. an indirect approach as a framework for how NORSOF conducts operations, this author claims that NORSOF mainly has focused on direct capabilities and less so on indirect capabilities, the latter which experience has proved to be so effective and efficient in counterinsurgency operations. Analysis of the characteristics of insurgency and how to counter it leads to the conclusion that NORSOF will enhance its relevance and efficacy if it also acquires indirect capabilities and thus can employ both a direct as well as an indirect approach, depending on the situation. However, although NORSOF may play an important role in counterinsurgency operations, there are several limitations that inhibit NORSOF's role in this type of operations. Accordingly, NORSOF's operations must be seen in the larger context of how to effectively quell an insurgency.
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