The roles of decision makers in special operations
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This thesis examines the roles of decision makers in three phases of a special operation: the approval phase, the preparation phase, and the execution phase. The author argues that the level of decision makers' involvement should be high in the approval phase, medium in the preparation phase, and low in the execution phase. Four special operations—Operation Thunderbolt, Operation Nimrod, Operation Eagle Claw, and the Moscow Theater Hostage Crisis—which were conducted by different countries' Special Forces, are studied in order to test the argument. Ultimately, this thesis seeks to draw attention to the specific roles that decision makers should perform for a successful special operation. It concludes by offering these specific activities for decision makers: Examining Less Risky Options, Gaining International and Domestic Support, Delegating Authority, Establishing Clear Chain of Command, Selecting Appropriate Units, Gaining Time, Coordinating, and Preserving Secrecy.
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