View Full Version : SF trying to adjust Army Doctrine

06-02-2011, 06:03
I say it sounds like SF getting BACK to SF doctrine...


FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- During a recent visit to his wife's doctor, Maj. Gen. Bennet Sacolick winced when the physician lamented that it had been SEALs and not Army Special Forces operators who took down terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.

It wasn't the doctors' favoritism toward the Green Berets that irked Sacolick, the chief of the Army Special Warfare Center and School here. Instead it was the civilian doctor's assumption that taking down terrorists is the Special Forces' primary mission.

"It was absolutely so apparent that he had no idea what SF guys do," Sacolick recalled during an interview in his office. "The fact is we're the only force specifically trained and educated to train and work with indigenous forces. Not hunting them down and killing them, but working with them to build partner capacity."

After ten years of post-9/11 conflict, Sacolick is worried the mission of the Special Forces has veered too far toward direct action -- snagging "high value targets" and confronting terrorists and insurgent leaders in lightning raids -- and he's taking it upon himself to steer the commandos back on course.

"I hate analogies like the pointy end of the spear. We're not designed to hunt people down and kill them," Sacolick said. "We have that capability and we have forces that specialize in that. But ultimately what we do that nobody else does is work with our indigenous partner nations."

Despite his experience with Joint Special Operations Command and as the commander of Delta Force, Sacolick is working to change that "door kicker" perception by tweaking Army doctrine so battlefield commanders know more about SF capabilities. He wants to insert a new so-called "warfighting function" into Army doctrine that outlines what Special Forces bring to the fight.

"Somehow over the last 10 years we maybe became a little too disengaged with the Army," Sacolick said. "So now we are reengaging with the Army . . . and talking about [what we do] outside the battlefield."

Sacolick is working to reestablish Special Operations Coordination Cells in every corps and division so commanders can better use their Green Berets for missions interacting with local security forces, instead of seeing them simply as assault forces for difficult takedowns.

But refocusing the SF mission goes deeper than reeducating headquarters, Sacolick admitted. Since the U.S. military has been primarily focused on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last decade, Special Forces troops have been on near constant deployments there -- with foreign engagements dipping from a pre-9/11 high of 91 countries down to about 50 today.

Army leaders have pulled Special Forces groups that typically specialize in Europe, Asia or Latin America into Iraq or Afghanistan missions, depriving the Green Berets of the experience they need to work with forces in their primary region.

"I have a generation of young men who are about to assume command of Special Forces battalions that know nothing but Iraq and Afghanistan," Sacolick said. "We're going to have to retrain a whole generation of officers."

In fact, because of the focus on Afghanistan and Iraq, Army Special Operations had to turn down about 90 mission requests to work with foreign forces just last year.

But as U.S. forces draw down from Iraq and Afghanistan, officials are confident they can refocus on working with partner nations so terror movements can't take root.

"I'm pretty comfortable that once we get relief from Iraq and Afghanistan . . . we'll start sending these guys out to [other] countries and they'll pick up that mission again," Sacolick said.

06-02-2011, 06:15
Sacolick is working to reestablish Special Operations Coordination Cells in every corps and division so commanders can better use their Green Berets for missions interacting with local security forces, instead of seeing them simply as assault forces for difficult takedowns.

Special Operations Coordination Cells don't sound like a good idea. You will pull Officers, which would be great for them. But Pulling Warrents and NCOS to these cell will be a bad idea. Why?? Because I see it two ways. First you will pull from low ranks to fill a key, spot lighted Command. Second - I see one of two people going to these Cells, Good SF Guys wantig to move to that Post or location and then that Change for me to get rid of my Shit Bag SF Guy.

07-24-2011, 03:10
I have to agree with Goat. Special Operations Coordination Cells may look excellent on paper, but look at the current strengths of teams in the regiment. We are having a hard enough time getting quality guys to fill teams, let alone filling "created" positions with those same quality guys that should be on teams.

Just my $.02

07-24-2011, 06:29
I I remember correctly, the SOCCORD enlisted representatives tended to be senior guys.... Properly applied and managed, it represents opportunity to influence big-army attitudes as well as giving an option for those who are doomed to staff-time somewhere. This might be a more gratifying position.

07-24-2011, 08:23
Had to do two SOCC's and all they turned out to be is a commo package. We fought to do what we were tasked to and in retrospect it was not abgood use of a split team or a B Team.
Shoot one of them we flew to Hawaii to pre plan for a deployment and they were so busy with their own internal business they would not even meet with us past the first morning with the G3 and he had a long tab from way back. We checked out the island and had to fight to get on the flight to the deployment as the G2 air did not slot us on the flights.

Yes we need to get back to our primary mission but not at the expense of the teams......

The Reaper
07-24-2011, 10:08
This is not new. SOCCORDs and SOCCEs have been around for a long time.

Like many organizations, properly used, they are of benefit.

Last time I saw a manpower brief, we were having trouble filling existing requirements with SF personnel. These senior slots will not be filled by 18Xs for years. It will take experienced SF veterans to make this work well. SWCS trained the people who will fill these positions back in the 90s to mid 00s. Since we do not appear to have a ISU90 filled with qualified, experienced people who are not doing anything else, where will they come from?


wet dog
07-24-2011, 10:45
You guys are all using big words and terms, like, "Command", "Special Operation Coordination Cells", and "existing requirements".

I remember when SOCCE meant, "cheap whore being pimped out to Division or Corp."

07-24-2011, 11:38
I remember when SOCCE meant, "cheap whore being pimped out to Division or Corp."

WD - It depends on how the relationship is established... I've lived through both ends of the spectrum and it was very much dependent upon the leadership ability of the Senior SF member who establishes the element (SOCCE). SOCCORD should be less random.

TR, I wouldn't expect a forklift approach, but as is stated in the article, it would require some deliberate planning on how to regain focus.

07-24-2011, 12:09
Some of the old SOCCE missions were very educational and fun. Spring of '88, Maj. Peter Harvel, Cpt. Brian Braisted, SGM Ramos and I were the liason with the Brits during Crested Eagle. I, being a young SSG at the time, learned a lot and gained valuable experience in working at that level.