U.S. Special Operations: Personal Opinions

U.S. Special Operations

Personal Opinions

by Colonel John M. Collins, Small Wars Journal

U.S. Special Operations: Personal Opinions (Full PDF Article)

Many true believers throughout USSOCOM have memorized SOF Truths, here are the first four of five bullets that I conceived and Congressman Earl Hutto signed in the Foreword to U.S. and Soviet Special Operations on 28 April 1987:

- Humans are more important than hardware

- Their quality is more important than quantities

- Special Operations Forces cannot be mass-produced

- Competent SOF cannot be created after emergencies occur

When General Stiner sent me on a Cook's tour of his subordinate commands in 1993 the first stop was Fort Bragg, where USASOC commander Lieutenant General Wayne Downing proudly concluded his formal presentation with a slide that displayed SOF Truths. He did a double take when I told him "they're wonderful," then said, "I wrote 'em."

If asked to start over from scratch, I would add one word to the fourth bullet so it would read "Competent SOF cannot be created RAPIDLY after emergencies occur." Otherwise, I believe they are still solid as bricks, but wish that whoever enshrined the first four had retained Number 5, which says "Most Special Operations require non-SOF assistance." That oversight was a serious mistake in my opinion, because its omission encourages unrealistic expectations by poorly tutored employers and perpetuates a counterproductive "us versus everybody else" attitude by excessively gung ho members of the SOF community.

U.S. Special Operations: Personal Opinions (Full PDF Article)

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