Sexy is what you make it: organizational culture and U.S. Army Special Forces
Hawk, David L.
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The U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) are the most highly trained, best equipped, and most seasoned soldiers to which the United States can turn to achieve national security objectives. The future, however, will require more indirect application of SF, through special warfare operations (e.g., UW, FID, etc.), in a host of hostile and undefined areas around the globe. This manner of employment is a change in emphasis from the direct combat operations that have been the norm over the past decade of war. In order to prepare adequately for future indirect operations, SF must change the focus of its training. Expertise in non-lethal skills will become an increasing requirement for mission success. This research, however, has identified a roadblock to such an endeavor. An informal organizational culture has developed in SF that focuses greatly on building the lethal skill sets over the non-lethal ones. Through analysis of survey data, this research diagnoses the condition of the overarching organizational culture of the SF Groups. It also identifies various aspects of that culture at the Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) level, that hinder SF’s ability to perform optimally. This study provides recommendations for correcting the shortcomings of the current dominant organizational culture to support the indirect method that will bring future operational successes.
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