From successful defense to problematic offense: the devolution of unconventional warfare
Ball, Timothy S.
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Unconventional warfare (UW) originated in World War II as a defensive tactic, utilized to assist an occupied ally during a conventional war. Since then, Special Forces (SF) has changed the definition of UW to include offensive regime change as a strategic option. This type of UW was practiced extensively by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War with poor results. The use of offensive UW by the United States is problematic for a variety of reasons, ranging from unreliable proxy forces to unpredictable results and negative international perception. The use of defensive UW under certain conditions remains justified and practical, but retains many of the same issues. After examining the history of the United States' use of UW, this thesis concludes that Special Forces better serves the nation's interests by promoting itself as the premier combined force of the United States military.
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