by SWJ Editors
U.S. Special Operations
by Colonel John M. Collins, Small Wars Journal
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.