This article should start with the statement that this isn’t an attack on Major General Robert Scales at all. Scales recently wrote an intriguing piece on how to try to “bottle SOF” and make our United States infantry units in the Army and Marine Corps as good as our SOF operators. 

Scales earned a Silver Star for his actions during the Battle of Hamburger Hill. He commanded units at home and overseas and was the Commandant of the Army’s War College. He has been a military analyst on Fox News for several years. 

Scales has written several excellent pieces on the U.S. military, and on many of the points he makes in his recent BreakingDefense.com piece, I’m in total agreement with. But trying to bring large conventional infantry units up to the level of SOF operators? It won’t work for a variety of reasons. 

The conventional infantry, especially light and airborne infantry units, has traditionally lost many of its best and brightest NCOs to SOF units. That has always been a thorn in the backside of the conventional military. Just when an NCO reaches the level of his maximum effectiveness, he volunteers for a SOF unit and if he passes Selection then he’s off to up to a year, and in many cases more than that, of training to become a qualified special operator.