Small Wars Journal

Latest From Special Warfare

Village Stability Operations: More than Village Defense by Colonel Ty Connett and Colonel Bob Cassidy. The authors explain the critical role that village stability operations play in the International Security Assistance Force's counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

4th and Long: The Role of Civil Affairs in VSO by Captain Neiman C. Young. When the Soldiers of Company A, 91st Civil Affairs Battalion, deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, they learned to adapt their activities to contribute to village stability operations.

The Nuts and Bolts of Village Stability Operations by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen N. Rust. An overview of the principles and challenges of village stability operations.

Taking a Stand: VSO and the Afghan Local Police by Lieutenant Colonel Basicl Catanzaro and Major Kirk Windmueller. Through village stability operations, members of U.S. SOF team with Afghan police to achieve security and stability and pave the way for political and economic improvements.

The Green Beret Volckmann Program by Colonel Eric P. Wendt. The author proposes a strategy for countering multiregional insurgencies by employing culturally astute SF Soldiers who would serve repetitive rotations to a specific country.

Regimental Training Facility Brings Unique SOF Resources Together by Major David S. Clukey. A dedicated site at Fort Bliss, Texas, provides realistic pre-mission training for members of special-operations task forces.


Yes, the Bliss PMT site does everything for SF but what is unique to SF -- UW and FID. Thus, it is of limited utility to SF to maintain its unique specialties. While SF continues to fall into the trap of almost exclusively focusing on the relatively easy "hyper-conventional" training (aka Direct Action), SF is slipping further away from its core unique competencies. This comes at a time when SF has been forced off its azimuth by the wrong lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, and decreased standards at the Q Course for the sake of increasing numbers to fulfill increasing requirements from the conventional JTFs and COCOMs. We have many, many younger SF-qualified operators who do not understand UW. We even have to teach UW to the new UW instructor cadre members who arrive out at Camp MacKall. So that means we lack quality SF instruction in our basic certifying course, and those same cats certainly do not learn it in Iraq unless there is a kick-ass Team Sergeant who lives and breathes the stuff. And our Team Sergeants, as a group, no longer have the breadth of experience we depend upon them for. Many have never done anything but Iraq and Afghanistan, thus their UW skills have also atrophied for the sake of Targeting.

That is not to say that the Bliss site does not offer a viable solution to situations like the terrible training support 5th SFG traditionally receives from Ft Campbell, for example. I personally felt that Camp Atterbury, IN and Muscatatuck Training Center provided sufficient resources to do all that training, but Ft. Bragg obviously wants to streamline everything for cost-cutting purposes across the Regiment, which is also legitimate.

Since Im not a big DA fan (down with the CIFs!), I focus on the hard part of SF: UW and FID. SF still has not been able to establish a permanent UW exercise other than Robin Sage. I say permanent because there is no such thing as a temporary UW exercise as you have to maintain the relationships with the role players and property owners over time or they lose interest and leave the auxiliary pool -- in order to teach UW, you have to do UW. It is possible, however, and small groups of SF guys have tried to establish smaller initiatives toward the creation of exercises both in Kentucky and Colorado, but the Group HQs have never resourced them for long-term sustainment and, consequently, the initiatives die on the vine. Does anyone know of anything since the days of Roguish Gator in the Florida pan-handle?

Anonymous (not verified)

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 9:11am

But is is "not your father's B-500"!! :-)

Brett Patron

Thu, 07/28/2011 - 9:09am

Re: Regimental Training Facility...for the older 5th Group hands out there...."B-500 Lives!"