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The US Special Forces : What Everyone Needs to Know - John Prados

The US Special Forces

What Everyone Needs to Know

Paperback Published: 15th July 2015
ISBN: 9780199354290
Number Of Pages: 208

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The assassination of Osama bin Laden by SEAL Team 6 in May 2011 will certainly figure among the greatest achievements of US Special Forces. After nearly ten years of searching, they descended into his Pakistan compound in the middle of the night, killed him, and secreted the body back into Afghanistan. Interest in these forces had always been high, but it spiked to new levels following this success. There was a larger lesson here too. For serious jobs, the president invariably turns to the US Special Forces: the SEALs, Delta Force, the Green Berets, and the USAF's Special Tactics squad. Given that secretive grab-and-snatch operations in remote locales characterize contemporary warfare as much as traditional firefights, the Special Forces now fill a central role in American military strategy and tactics.

Not surprisingly, the daring and secretive nature of these commando operations has generated a great deal of interest. The American public has an overwhelmingly favorable view of the forces, and nations around the world recognize them as the most capable fighting units: the tip of the American spear, so to speak. But how much do we know about them? What are their origins? What function do they fill in the larger military structure? Who can become a member? What do trainees have to go through? What sort of missions do Special Forces perform, and what are they expected to accomplish? Despite their importance, much of what they do remains a mystery because their operations are clandestine and the sources elusive.

In The US Special Forces: What Everyone Needs to Know, eminent scholar John Prados brings his deep expertise to the subject and provides a pithy primer on the various components of America's special forces. The US military has long employed Special Forces in some form or another, but it was in the Cold War when they assumed their present form, and in Vietnam where they achieved critical mass. Interestingly, the Special Forces suffered a rapid decline in numbers after that conflict despite the fact that the United States had already identified terrorism as a growing security threat. The revival of Special Forces began under the Reagan administration. After 9/11 they experienced explosive growth, and are now integral to all US military missions. Prados traces how this happened and examines the various roles the Special Forces now play. They have taken over many functions of the regular military, a trend that Prados does not expect will end any time soon.

This will be a definitive primer on the elite units in the most powerful military the world has ever known.

Introduction Acronyms Prologue: Bookends on a War

Chapter 1. Origin of the Species What about the Trojan Horse? What happened in World War II? Where did Special Forces go after the war? How about Special Forces in Korea? What happened in the Cold War?

Chapter 2. Parallax Shift How did President John F. Kennedy change Special Forces? What happened in Vietnam? Who were the 'montagnards'? What happened to the Rangers? What was the 'Green Beret Affair? What was the Studies and Observation Group? What was the Sontay raid?

Chapter 3. Ebb and Flow How did Air Force special warfare evolve? What about the Navy? How about elsewhere? Che Guevara? What tensions existed between Special Forces and the conventional military? Why did Special Forces go into decline after Vietnam? What is low intensity conflict? Did rising concern about terrorism influence SOF trends and when did the change take hold? What is Delta Force? What does Iran have to do with Special Forces? What happened in Operation 'Eagle Claw?' What was the Holloway Report? What else changed?

Chapter 4. Toward New Horizons What happened in Grenada? What did Ronald Reagan do? What innovations came to SOF? What is Special Operations Command? Was there resentment in the military when SOF got their own command? What happened in the Persian Gulf? What happened in Panama? Was Panama the apex of Special Forces' work in the first Bush administration? How has the changing nature of United States interventions impacted on the role of the Special Operations Forces? What other missions did Special Forces conduct? Are Special Forces suitable in all types of warfare? What is the relationship between Special Forces and the CIA? Have SOF officers ever headed the U.S. military?

Chapter 5. After September 11 What is a joint task force? What happened after Tora Bora? What happened in Iraq? What is nodal analysis? What didn't Saddam's capture stop the insurgency? What about SOF and torture? Who killed al Zarqawi? How effective were the night raids? Did the Iraq and Afghan wars oblige SOF to change or refine practices and doctrines? Tell me about the Marine Special Operations Command Did the wars changes Special Forces relationship with the CIA? How about SOF and the 'private military contractors?' What is the role of Special Forces in drone warfare? Are there 'special targets' What are the moral and legal implications of identifying 'special targets'

Chapter 6. What Future? What tensions exist within the Special Operations community today? Are there cost-effectiveness issues? Are there predictable social issues on the horizon? So you want to be an operator? Tell me about Fayetteville

Who's Who in Special Forces


ISBN: 9780199354290
ISBN-10: 0199354294
Series: What Everyone Needs To Know (R)
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 15th July 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.1 x 14.2  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.24

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