Special operations liaison officer: looking back to see the future
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United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) describes its vision for the global SOF network (GSN) as a globally networked force of special operations forces (SOF), interagency partners, and allies able to respond rapidly and persistently to regional contingencies and threats to stability. USSOCOM’s goals for the GSN are supported by three unique elements: capacity building, low-level presence, and the sum total of access agreements and posturing in the form of responsiveness. The command’s Special Operations Liaison Officer (SOLO) program embodies these three elements. In a time of shrinking budgets and personnel drawdowns, USSOCOM and supported special operations component commands are faced with critical decisions about shaping their respective forces for the future. This capstone focuses on the United States Army Special Forces (SF) officers’ role in the SOLO program by utilizing a multimethod approach to address concerns presented by SOLO program managers. To this end, we have presented three viable courses of action (COAs) for USSOCOM to pursue, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, for a renewed SOLO program. The COAs include: 1) enhancing the status quo, 2) capitalizing on historical lessons, and 3) aligning with current United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) initiatives. While current demands are significant, we can always look to our past to see our future.
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