America's special operations forces (SOF) are in high demand and their global presence is growing. In 2019, SOF operated in 141 countries, up from only 60 just over a decade ago. Rightfully, SOF have earned a reputation for their tremendous successes, like killing Osama bin Laden in 2011.
As the pace increases, so have concerns over their behavior. But the nation's reverence for its SOF may itself be part of the problem — for too long, media has labeled SOF as more "elite" than the rest of the military. But the term "elite" implies better, and this raises the question, better for what?
Throughout history, SOF have evolved in myriad ways, most memorably with the creation of US Army Special Forces, whose Green Berets were officially recognized by President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
Today, all military personnel assigned under United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), are known by the umbrella term "special operations forces" (SOF). But America's response to the 9/11 attacks pushed SOF into the limelight like never before, leading the way in global counter-terror (CT) and counter-insurgency (COIN) operations, and earning the media's label as the "elite" echelon of the US military.
Read the full article in Business Insider.
More from CNAS
CommentaryImplementing Women, Peace, and Security Guidance to Systematically Combat Gender-Based Violence in the Military
By institutionalizing a culture that respects the perspectives of everyone who serves, the military advances preventative measures to address sexual harassment and assault....
By Dr. Kyleanne Hunter & Emma Moore
CommentaryThe Trans Ban Is Gone but More Needs To Be Done
Simply lifting the ban isn’t enough to counteract the discrimination transgender service members and veterans continue to face....
By Nathalie Grogan
CommentaryNow Is a Bad Time to Weaken Civilian Control Over the Military
The mob attacks on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are a sudden reminder of just how vital a nonpartisan military really is—even in the United States....
By Jim Golby
CommentaryHow to build more resilient and innovative US special operations teams
The military is looking for the wrong solutions to support the force....
By Lt Col Kaveri T. Crum & Emma Moore