An intriguing op-ed appeared in Military Times on March 7th, 2021, and it deserves a wide distribution given that it addresses a question that this author frankly did not know was percolating out there in the “SOFosphere.” It would have tremendous implications on U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF) if the question it addresses were answered in the affirmative. That question is: should USSOF be its own stand-alone service within the U.S. military?
First, to clarify: U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is a unified combatant command on the same level with the various U.S. geographic combatant commands (GCC’s), such as the U.S. European and Central Commands, and the other several GCC’s that have long existed. That elevation of USSOCOM to a unified combatant command happened post-9/11, in 2005, through an act of Congress and as a direct result of the significant role played by USSOF in the global war on terrorism (GWOT), to use the passé term for the decades-long military campaign. To be precise, USSOCOM was elevated to the level of a GCC to coordinate U.S. military global efforts against terrorist networks.