Military Special Operations

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2.1.1. Description of the SOF Clear definitions are needed to be able to understand how distinct military special operations are from other organizations conducting the same. Various government agencies at the national, state, and local levels conduct “special operations” that include numerous and disparate activities and sometimes require dedicated special operators, such as teams in law enforcement. Other nations also have similar activities and label them as special operations. Their militaries often have a divergent view of what constitutes military special operations and the purpose and role of SOF. While military special operations may share some attributes with others, it is a part of the strategic culture and therefore uniquely formed by the viewpoints of the military and the use of power (Yarger, 2013).
In the 1970s special operations were defined as: “Secondary or supporting operations which may be adjunct to various other operations and for which no one service is assigned primary responsibility (Barnett, Tovar & Schultz, 1984, p.47) This definition left “special operations” applicable to any service or
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They may support conventional operations, or they may be arraigned independently when the use of conventional forces is either inappropriate or infeasible. Special operations may include unconventional warfare, counterterrorist operations, collective security, psychological operations, and civil affairs measures (U.S. Department of Defense, 1984). This definition somewhat evades the issue of who may do special operations by not using the term SOF and seemingly allowing commanders to continue to conduct special operations with highly-trained conventional
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