Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.”—Sun Tzu

Especially over the past 10 years, we have shown a singular disregard for this truth. The SOF-CF dichotomy is emblematic of the problem.

‘Special’ warfare is a relatively new concept. The tactics employed are not. Raids and reconnaissance are as old as warfare itself. During WWII, regular infantry often had to step up and accomplish missions that would today have entire AORs locked down so that TF Whatever can swoop in and clear the target. The assumption is that ‘mere’ grunts can’t handle that level of mission.

But they have had to. Repeatedly. The CAP platoons in Vietnam were regular Marine 0311s, for the most part. And warfare doesn’t look like it’s going back to massed formations in the Fulda Gap anytime soon. It hasn’t for a very long time.