The Role of Special Operations Forces in Operations Against Theater Missiles
Riley, Craig Allen
Wirtz, James J.
Conner, George W.
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The U.S. military has never been able to prevent theater missiles (TMs) from being launched at U.S. and Allied or Coalition forces and citizens. Post-war analysis of interdiction efforts during World War II and the Persian Gulf War could not identify a single instance where either a German V weapon or an Iraqi SCUD missile was destroyed before launch. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the best estimate that the Air Force could provide the National Command Authority was that ninety percent of the Soviet missiles in Cuba would be destroyed by an airstrike. To correct this deficiency, the military developed joint theater missile defense (JTMD) doctrine. This doctrine attempts to integrate synergistically all U.S. military assets and capabilities. However, this doctrine does not fully integrate Special Operations Forces (SOF) into attack operations against TMs. Additionally, the joint tactics, techniques, and procedures (JTTPs) needed to implement this doctrine have not been developed. The integration of SOF's capability to conduct pre-strike and post-strike reconnaissance, critical material recovery operations and target acquisition tasks can immediately improve JTMD capabilities.
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