The Special Operations community under their command element at USASOC were developed back in the 1990s. The joint command looked to define what was a successful Special Operations mission and what factors played a key role in the conducting of their missions. They published a list of 12 SOF (Special Operations Forces) Imperatives to aid in the operational planning of SOF missions.
Before some people get too wrapped around the handle about the word itself, the word imperative comes from the Latin word of the same name which means, “specially ordered.” Oxford’s English dictionary lists it as an adjective meaning “of vital importance,” or a noun that means “an essential or urgent thing.” So there’s that.
While one may not need to accomplish each one of these imperatives for every mission as they will vary, however, they are the guidelines that invaluable during the planning phase of the operation that addresses most, if not all of the issues that need to be planned for.
So, let’s look at the first one and for those of our readers who are aspiring SOFs troops, the one with perhaps the most misunderstood meaning.