For nearly two decades of constant operations during America’s post-9/11 wars, Army special operations forces played a central role at the tip of the spear. But how will they best contribute to future irregular warfare campaigns that take shape on a very different strategic landscape? And how will special operations forces from the United States’ chief landpower service leverage capabilities in the space and cyber domains to enhance their impact?
In this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, hosts Ben Jebb and Kyle Atwell are joined by Lieutenant General Jonathan P. Braga, commanding general of US Army Special Operations Command, and P. W. Singer, a New York Times best-selling author and renowned national security futurist. Together, they explore the range of future threats that Army special operations forces will encounter, discuss how to harness the power of innovation to enable them to meet these threats, and recommend ways to optimize these uniquely trained and equipped soldiers and units for the future of irregular warfare.
Listen to the full episode below and be sure to subscribe to the Irregular Warfare Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.
Image credit: US Army courtesy photo
An attempt at a context comparison:
1. In the Old Cold War of yesterday, how did the Soviets/the communists — whose goal back then was to "achieve revolutionary change" both at home and abroad — :
a. Use such things as the nexus between SOF and then-cutting-edge technologies; this, to:
b. Accomplish their such "achieve revolutionary change both at home and broad" (in the name of communism back then) goals?
(This, in spite of U.S./Western — and indeed conservatives/traditionalists everywhere — efforts, back then, to [a] use of such things as the nexus between SOF and then-cutting-edge technologies to [b] PREVENT these such "transformations" from taking place.)
2. In the New/Reverse Cold War of today, how might the U.S./the West — whose goal now ourselves is to "achieve revolutionary change" both at home and abroad — :
a. Use such things as the nexus between SOF and today's cutting-edge technologies; this, to:
b. Accomplish now our such "achieve revolutionary change both at home and broad" (in the name of market democracy) goals?
(This, in spite of Russian, Chinese, Iranian, N. Korean, Islamists, etc. — and indeed conservatives/traditionalists everywhere — efforts today to [a] use of such things as the nexus between SOF and present-day cutting-edge technologies to [b] PREVENT these such "transformations" from taking place.)
Given the U.S./the West's New/Reverse Cold War "achieve revolutionary change both at home and abroad" political objective (undertaken in the name of such things as market democracy today) — that I discuss at Item No. 2 of my initial comment above — given this such political objective, let's look at what LTG (ret) Charles Cleveland and GEN (ret) Joseph Votel (et. al) have said about how we should proceed to accomplish this such mission; this, might we agree, at least in part via the nexus between (a) today's ARSOF and (b) today's cutting edge technologies:
“The Achilles’ heel of our authoritarian adversaries is their inherent fear of their own people; the United States must capitalize on this fear. … An American way of irregular war will reflect who we are as a people, our diversity, our moral code, our undying belief in freedom and liberty. It must be both defensive and offensive. Developing it will take time, require support from the American people through their Congress, and is guaranteed to disrupt the status quo and draw criticism. It will take leadership, dedication, and courage. It is my hope that this study encourages, informs, and animates those with responsibility to protect the nation to act. Our adversaries have moved to dominate in the space below the threshold of war. It will be a strategy built around an American way of irregular war that defeats them.”
(See the Rand paper “The American Way of Irregular War: An Analytical Memoir; therein, see the “Conclusion” of the “Summary” Chapter, at Page xxiii.)
GEN Votel (et. al):
“Advocates of UW first recognize that, among a population of self-determination seekers, human interest in liberty trumps loyalty to a self-serving dictatorship, that those who aspire to freedom can succeed in deposing corrupt or authoritarian rulers, and that unfortunate population groups can and often do seek alternatives to a life of fear, oppression, and injustice. Second, advocates believe that there is a valid role for the U.S. Government in encouraging and empowering these freedom seekers when doing so helps to secure U.S. national security interests.”
(See the National Defense University Press paper “Unconventional Warfare in the Gray Zone” by authors Joseph L. Votel, Charles T. Cleveland, Charles T. Connett, and Will Irwin; therein, see the major section entitled “Doctrine.”)
As you can see from LTG Cleveland and GEN Votel (et. al's) thoughts above, the folks (in this instance) that the U.S./the West and our partners and allies seek to work more "by, with and through" today, these folks (today) are the more liberal/the more pro-change (more along market democracy lines) states and societies of the world — and those more liberal/those more pro-change (more along market democracy lines) individuals and groups — who DEFINITELY are not satisfied with, for example, the more-authoritarian — and/or the more fundamentally religious — status quo (or status quo ante).