Skip to comments.U.S. Army Special Ops: Fighting..the Global War on Terrorism (Actual CmdGen of SpecOps Speaks)
Posted on 10/08/2002 12:00:27 PM PDT by xzins
|U.S. Army Special Operations: Fighting and Supporting the Global War on Terrorism
|By: Lt. Gen. Bryan (Doug) Brown*
Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command
|*As the Green Book went to press, Lt. Gen. Bryan D. Brown was nominated and confirmed by the Senate to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as deputy commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, and Maj. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger Jr. was nominated and confirmed by the Senate to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as the commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
While the nation was still reeling from the September 11 attacks, U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) forces were preparing for movement into Afghanistan to begin the battle against terrorist threats. USASOC units stood trained, prepared and ready for the call to fight our nation's next war.
Within days, plans were developed to establish an operating base that would enable Army special operations forces (ARSOF) to strike back against al Qaeda. Just a few weeks after September 11, ARSOF elements departed for Karshi Kanabad, Uzbekistan. Engineers, cooks, fuel handlers and mechanics from the 528th Special Operations Support Battalion (Airborne) ensured our follow-on forces would have the necessary support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda.
This unique organization of special operations support assets processed 30 million dollars of supply requests and more than 500 pallets of general-issue supplies. The 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion (Airborne) immediately provided vital connectivity for information flow using satellite telephones, Internet and video teleconferencing technology. These battalions from the U.S Army Special Operations Support Command were vital logistics assets and validated our doctrine on the use of this technology.
Another test of our doctrine, that of unconventional warfare, was at hand. The plan to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda began with Special Forces operational detachment-alpha (ODA) teams infiltrating into Afghanistan to establish contact with the various anti-Taliban forces. Connecting our operational detachments with the anti-Taliban forces proved to be a legitimate force multiplier in conjunction with lethal Air Force strikes. These ODAs worked side by side with the future leaders of Afghanistan. Through numerous battles and deadly firefights they continually demonstrated the ingenuity and professionalism that is a result of years of highly specialized training.
Our successful battle at Mazar-e-Sharif is a textbook example of unconventional warfare combined with lethal weaponry manned by professional soldiers. On October 20, 2001, ODA 595 linked up with Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, commander of the largest Afghan faction of the Northern Alliance, and began an assault against the Taliban resulting in the liberation of Mazar-e-Sharif. ODA 595 is part of 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) based at Fort Campbell, Ky.
From the time the detachment linked with Dostum until Mazar-e-Sharif was liberated on November 10, the detachment had moved more than 100 miles, much of it on horseback. The detachment had also split into smaller cells to maximize its effectiveness with Dostum's forces. The ODA noncommissioned officers became trusted advisors to the Afghan forces.
This detachment, and many others like it, called for airstrikes on enemy targets and engaged in direct combat with the enemy. The SF soldiers provided emergency medical care to wounded Afghan soldiers and gave them much needed combat supplies for the battle.
More important, a young captain who commanded an ODA and his NCOs were forming relationships with commanders who would, in a few months, help lead Afghanistan toward a new, more peaceful future. These great SF soldiers are warrior-diplomats, who continue to help establish and carry out U.S. policy on foreign soil.
Moving the SF teams and their supplies into Afghanistan was the responsibility of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). The air component of Army special operations forces proved its worth tenfold in Afghanistan. The aviators of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are by far the most skilled military pilots in the world. Flying specially modified MH-47E Chinooks and MH-60D Black Hawks, these fearless crews battled hostile fire, fierce sand and snowstorms to ensure our soldiers were safely on the ground and resupplied.
Using the most advanced avionics in the world, these helicopter crews flew through zero visibility conditions, often refueling in the air two and three times while covering distances in excess of 600 to 800 miles before completing a mission. Despite operating in such harsh conditions, the 160th SOAR maintenance crews kept nearly 100 percent of the helicopters flying in combat.
Our activities in Afghanistan were not limited to unconventional warfare. Around mid-October elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment executed the first combat jump since Operation Just Cause, Panama. Their mission was to seize an airfield deep in Afghanistan, later called Camp Rhino. This successful mission sent a strong message to the Taliban and al Qaeda that they were not safe anywhere and that U.S. forces could strike with lethal quickness and deadly resolve.
The Rangers' role in Afghanistan is not widely publicized but is a significant contribution to the overall success of our missions in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Direct combat action was not the only tool available to Army special operations forces. Civil affairs (CA) and psychological operations (PSYOP) soldiers worked to build trust and confidence in our mission with the local populace. Psychological operations teams quickly developed simple yet effective means for conveying information to the people of Afghanistan.
Millions of leaflets were airdropped along with tons of humanitarian rations. PSYOP planners carefully crafted the leaflets to make sure they conveyed the right message. Radio broadcasts were developed and broadcast by way of the Air Force's Commando Solo aircraft.
Civil affairs teams built support for U.S. efforts by working with the local populace to rebuild roads, bridges and schools. One of the most significant accomplishments of CA teams was ensuring the repair and opening of the Freedom Bridge between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. This milestone event enabled even larger amounts of humanitarian relief to enter the country. The positive efforts of our CA and PSYOP soldiers will be felt for years to come.
Today, the Taliban is no longer in control of Afghanistan and al Qaeda is on the run, but this in no way means our job is over. We continue to operate in dozens of countries around the world on a daily basis where our soldiers are in harm's way. It is still a very dangerous world out there, and we still have a mission to accomplish. Our overarching goal is continued success in the global war on terrorism. To accomplish this, there are a number of priorities in USASOC.
The seamless integration of our Army Reserve and National Guard forces is essential. Part of maintaining a sustainable, viable asset includes integration of our Reserve and National Guard soldiers into our mission. During the past year, our many accomplishments could not have been achieved without our reserve component forces.
The Special Operations Support Command was augmented by three Reserve and National Guard units from the conventional forces. They trained hard, learned quickly and seamlessly integrated into the active component units that remained behind supporting the war. In addition, components of these units deployed in theater with our active forces.
In the 13-year history of this command, this is a feat that had never been attempted. The fact that this worked extremely well in the first year of the campaign, and continues to work as we move into the second year with new conventional Reserve and National Guard units attached, is a testament to the ingenuity of a leading edge special operations force.
As we speak, our National Guard SF units are taking the lead in combating any threat our forces may encounter. Without the 19th and 20th Special Forces Groups (Airborne), we would not be able to maintain our worldwide presence.
The bulk of our reserve assets are in civil affairs and psychological operations units. The high operational tempo we have placed on these units means they have played and will continue to play a major role as we combat terrorism wherever it is.
The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School is the centerpiece of USASOC. Our unconventional warfare doctrine was shaped and molded within the schoolhouse and validated through decades of our Robin Sage training exercises. Our goal for the future in the schoolhouse is to ensure that quality instructors and doctrinal-based courses are available to continue to produce the finest special operations soldiers in the world.
One of our SOF truths is that SOF soldiers cannot be mass produced in times of crisis. This still holds true today. Ensuring that a continuous flow of trained and ready soldiers successfully complete basic and advanced ARSOF training without lowering standards is our way of guaranteeing that SOF is a viable force well into the future.
The number of students going through the schoolhouse has nearly doubled since September 11. We have been able to do this by adding instructors and courses without diminishing quality. This effort will continue because the demand is still great for ARSOF soldiers in all specialties.
As we train these soldiers, another goal is to make sure they have the finest equipment possible. Some of the equipment we are continuing to develop includes lighter yet stronger combat gear, safer parachutes, reliable weapons and improved communications gear. We owe it to our soldiers to make sure we equip them with the finest gear available.
Our leadership in this command continues to have the necessary vision to see that future battles must also be fought with the very best special operators this country can provide.
We should accept nothing less. ARSOF has a long tradition of recruiting and training only the best soldiers--often four-time volunteers--to the high standard necessary to decisively engage the enemy.
Special Forces recruiting is stronger today than it was a year ago. Not only are we continuing to recruit from within the Army to provide the ARSOF community with experienced senior soldiers, but we are also reverting to our historical recruiting practice of accessing highly talented civilians into the SF training pipeline, thereby augmenting our recruiting mission. Early indications are that this direct accession program is a success.
Once we train these soldiers, we will work hard to keep them. An increase to the special duty pay of Special Forces soldiers and the changes made to aviation continuation pay are just two of the successful incentives to encourage soldiers to remain in Army special operations forces.
Our soldiers can look back on this past year with great pride knowing that they were a part of something historic. Whether ARSOF assets are supporting the global war on terrorism, training foreign armies, or supporting home station missions, USASOC stands ready to answer the nation's call.
|Copyright © 2001 by The Association of the U.S. Army|
Now second in command for ALL special operations (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) he is hopefully in line to get that 4th star and take over.
He is 2nd to no one in our military in terms of combat experience. You name it...he was there.
He's a former supervisor of mine (and the guy who last promoted me before I retired). He never forgot being a private and is a "soldier's soldier." Everyone should pray for this man.
Pay them whatever is necessary to keep them around for 10 or 15 years. It's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of training and to ensure an unbroken continuity of quality personnel and morale.
A US trained special ops warrior is a major investment, but ALSO a major marketable commodity in the world of warriors. They can be highly paid trainers for other nations, highly paid consultants for corporations. A real specops warrior is not in the unit they're in because of luck.
The Resister was once interesting, but then Barry went off the deep end. We were riding the same train once, but he went many stops further....
Your points about Stop Loss are well taken (although probably lost on most here). FWIW they have altered the Stop Loss programme so that once you have been under Stop Loss for a year you may resubmit for retirement. It's not "forever" any more.
The commanders have also been trying to shuffle some of the E-8 walruses into excess slots and let some of the blockaded guys get some rank. The logical answer would probably be to go overstructure on slots but the money is not there.
A lot more money dropped into the Army but as long as you have Skinky and White driving the train, none if it is going to go to SF. What does go there comes not from the army, but the US Special Ops Command (the joint command that LtG Brown will be deputy of).
Unfortunately for every Doug Brown the Army produces a bunch of Dan McNeils. ("I want the fuzz shaved off those desert boots and a parade ground shine, hooah?")
Criminal Number 18F
Thanks for the ping.
Our unconventional warfare doctrine was shaped and molded within the schoolhouse and validated through decades of our Robin Sage training exercises.
Man, you should have checked out some of the threads about the Robin Sage exercise that went bad a while back- loads of Freepers were in hysterics thinking Robin Sage was a gov't plot to take their guns and institute martial law. If you didn't see some of those threads- it might be interesting to do a search and try to find a couple of them.
The conventional troops are NOT bad guys or brutes or anything. But they are what they are, and for some things that's the wrong thing. Trying to get Rangers or the 82nd to do diplomacy screws up both the diplomacy and the Rangers!
How's your snake-eatin' ambition coming along? (FReepmail is okay if you want to take it out of public view).
Criminal Number 18F (a nearly retired snake eater)