Members of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) are entrusted with various operations, including but not limited to frontline combat and terrorist operations, the liberation of hostages, provision of humanitarian assistance, and much more. But should traditional, straight-forward force be the core of SOF? 

The United States Special Operations Command (USSCOM), with its head office located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is responsible for coordinating the operations of the incredibly competent and frequently undercover organization of military soldiers who are deployed all over the world.

With its history of triumph on the battlefield, SOF has been a subject of theories about whether the forces generate the so-called “fog of war” or it ultimately conducts “military statecraft.” This leads to the theory of SOF, which crafts a functional design that works to its advantage for succeeding operations and ensures the strengthening of its forces against potential risks. 

Special Forces Soldiers from four NATO countries observe targets on a firing range at the Grafenwoehr Training Area during a Judging Distance (JD) exercise on July 24. JD exercises, a common aspect of sniper training conducted by the International Special Training Centre (ISTC), are undertaken nearly daily and provide Soldiers a better understanding of determining distance to the target with the naked eye and rifle scope. The ISTC is sponsored by the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC). (Source: Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

These objectives suggest the primary components needed by SOF to radicalize their victory through a realistic design that enforces well-equipped troops, trained, and resolutely led armies to avoid the generation of “fog of war” from their side. In addition, SOF members receive training, education, and a skill set that is unparalleled in the military, allowing them to obscure the view of the opposing commander and influence their judgment to the point where it causes “operational paralysis.”

The 19th-century Military Theorists Carl von Clausewitz wrote in his famous piece, On War:

“The great uncertainty of all data in war is a peculiar difficulty, because all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight, which in addition not infrequently — like the effect of a fog or moonshine — gives to things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.”

According to this concept, the fog of war is thought to be caused by special operations forces carrying out missions and operations outside the purview of the public eye. 

Multi-Domain Operational Design and Approach

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Tatum, Air Warfare Center chief of joint terminal attack control training, works with Pakistan commandos to locate and coordinate various targets of opportunity during a training scenario at a Pakistan military range, March 1, 2022. The partner nation training was part of Falcon Talon 2022, an Agile Combat Employment operation and the first bilateral training event between the U.S. and Pakistan since 2019. (Source: Capt. Monique Roux, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Multi-Domain Operational Design and Approach

The Multi-Domain Operational Design and Approach focuses on three facetsOffensive Action, Support, and Financial Disruption. These are aimed at influencing the leadership and the forces accompanying it. The population from whom the enemy pulls its troops, whether by force or choice, is called the host population. They provide the financial and economic resources necessary to maintain the military.