U.S. Army Special Forces and homeland security operations
O'Connell, Douglas K.
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Army Special Forces units are trained to conduct sensitive special operations including unconventional warfare, counterterrorism, direct action and strategic reconnaissance missions. Many of the unique skills and capabilities found in Special Forces units have potential applications to homeland security operations. Despite an absence of doctrine for domestic operations, Special Forces --especially Army National Guard Special Forces -- are likely to be employed in future homeland security operations. This thesis examines potential homeland security missions for Special Forces. Additionally, given the unique first-responder role of the National Guard, this thesis analyzes potential policy changes needed to enhance National Guard Special Forces contributions to homeland security. The absence of doctrine for domestic Special Forces operations potentially adversely impacts Army National Guard Special Forces. Given the unique constitutionally mandated nature of the National Guard, state governors have the ability to activate their forces, including Army National Guard Special Forces, for homeland security operations. The absence of doctrine for domestic Special Forces operations can potentially lead to the misuse, overuse or illegal use of these strategic assets. Enhancing the National Guard's capacity to correctly use Special Forces in domestic operations will enhance the country's overall security posture.
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