I recently wrote this paper to pitch an idea for a “new” Special Operations capability, a capability that I think America desperately needs and is currently lacking. At the moment, Special Forces is re-investing in Unconventional Warfare and I wish them the best in this endeavor, however, I know of no effort to establish a network for tactical intelligence such as the one I describe here. Please let me know what your thoughts are. -Jack
On November 4, 1979 a group of Iranian students burst into the American embassy in Tehran, seizing the embassy and taking a large number embassy personnel hostage, the exact number being uncertain when Charlie Beckwith, the commander of America’s premier counter-terrorism unit was woken up at 7 AM that morning. Delta Force had just completed a training exercise for their final certification as a unit that included an aircraft take down and a static objective. Both scenarios included simulated hostages. The unit was less than a year old, and observers from British SAS, German GSG-9, and France’s GIGN were in attendance with US military officers and State Department representatives.
Although there were a number of lessons learned from the training exercise, both A and B squadrons had performed well and completed their objectives. Now, just as the training concluded, Delta Force was given a real life counter-terrorist mission. Like all military operations, this one was fraught with challenges.
Delta had been given a mission: Assault the American embassy in Teheran; take out the guards; free the hostages and get everyone safely out of Iran. That part was simple. All we needed to do now was come up with a plan. But without sufficient intelligence, nothing they said made any sense. We needed three things: information, information, information (Beckwith, 196).