U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) are currently experiencing their most extensive use and greatest transformation. In playing direct and leading roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the broader U.S. effort to defeat al Qaeda and violent extremism across the globe, these forces have become more operationally adept, endowed with more resources and organizational capacity. They are encountering greater demands for their leadership and expertise than ever before. Yet despite these developments, SOF are not optimized for success. This report - authored by former National Security Council Senior Director for Combating Terrorism Michele Malvesti - examines three specific challenges facing U.S. Special Operations Forces today, and presents recommendations on how best to utilize this invaluable corps of elite soldiers.