Special Operations Forces in the Gray Zone: An Operational Framework for Employing Special Operations Forces in the Space Between War and Peace by Phillip Lohaus, American Enterprise Institute Report
- Current operational models do not adequately reflect the challenges of “gray zone” warfare, leading to a misallocation of the instruments of national power to address nonconventional threats.
- As the US military’s primary tool for addressing conflict “outside of war,” special operations forces (SOF) are at particular risk for misuse if current operational models are used as a guide.
- SOF are useful at a variety of transition points along the escalatory spectrum, but as threats become more defined and pervasive, they are better addressed by a mass application of skills normally thought of as endemic to relatively smaller special operations units.
- US military doctrine, if not reformed to adequately account for conflict outside of the traditional peace/war duality, is not sufficient to advance national security interests against adversaries whose understanding of warfare encompasses competition outside of kinetic conflict.