As a result of the announcement to downsize special forces, I am writing this essay to add insight into why this decision is being considered. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, and there are always causes and effects and actions and reactions that lead to conclusions that do not make sense and seem unreasonable.

Operation Medusa with Gen Bolduc
The author, front row, first unblurred figure from the right, is seen here in Afghanistan during Operation Medusa.

There is no doubt that the United States Army Special Forces is the world’s leader in unconventional warfare operations. Special Operations Forces have many capabilities and capacities across all the services. Each has its focus, but this is the only special operations force that has the numerous mission profiles of Special Forces. Our nation needs these mission profiles to possess a military capability suitable to conduct operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels across the operational continuum of peace through war. No other force in the military can go from combat to humanitarian operations as quickly as Special Forces.

The tactical level of SOF is the most effective. It is the strategic and operational level where senior leaders make decisions that is usually the weak point. At no time do I point my fingers at others without including my own mistakes. Although I disagreed with what I was seeing and experiencing, I could not influence those decisions. My lack of political savvy and inability to influence my senior leaders contributed to failed strategy and operational plans.

In Special Operations since 1987, the counterterrorism forces have dominated special operations. Since 2001, the counterterrorism forces have marginalized the US Army Special Forces. This takeover has, unfortunately, been at the cooperation of special forces senior leaders at the general officer level. The geniuses that created this problem, most of them now retired, replaced by their sycophant protégés to carry on, have concluded this was not a good idea and want to broaden the SOF horizons.