Via CFR: In her testimony before the House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Linda Robinson details how U.S. Special Operations Forces can be restructured to better confront emerging challenges.
Here's an excerpt:
Vague and confusing terminology, lack of emphasis on doctrine and operating concepts, and weak outreach to relevant partners in the government have all hampered the development and employment of SOF for maximum strategic or decisive impact. The indirect approach is an unfortunately vague term; in place of direct and indirect, the draft Army doctrinal publication 3-05 uses surgical strike and special warfare. To me the distinguishing feature of the indirect approach (or special warfare) is partnred operations. The partner(s) can range widely from various government forces, to informal groups like tribes or community defense groups, or populations, which civil affairs and other units routinely interact with. The range of activities that SOF can engage in as part of the indirect approach is similarly broad (training, combat advising, intelligence and psychological operations, civil affairs projects) depending on the problem, the goals and the rules of engagement. But the key point is that the activities will always be with or through other entities, so that they are empowered and eventually enabled to enact the solutions on their own. To achieve lasting, decisive impact the activities cannot be episodic and unconnected but must be deliberately planned, linked and sustained via a campaign design that is nested in the larger theater and mission plans and overall U.S. policy Goals.