Accomplishing American strategic goals in the Middle East through persistent special operations
Nelson, Michael D.
Robinson, Glenn E.
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As the war in Iraq draws to a close, the importance of U.S. indirect influence in the Middle East will increase. The large footprint of the U.S. military in the region since 2003 has proven unsustainable for the long term in terms of stress on the conventional Army, acceptability to the population of the Muslim world, and patience of the American public. Further, this large-scale conflict, and the focus it has required, has diminished American ability to conduct indirect operations elsewhere throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (CENTCOM AOR). Thus, hostile networks have unrestricted access to the Middle East, which threatens U.S. interests and the stability of the region. Regional engagement provides a means to increase partner nation capacity as well as enhance indirect U.S. influence, but the program may not currently be achieving optimized, strategically significant gains that SOF have been able to achieve during other operations. This research seeks to examine how Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) might better conduct engagement through regionally coordinated persistent presence, and how to implement any suggested changes.
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