Small Wars Journal

Author Chronicles Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 1:48pm

Author Chronicles Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command by Howard Altman, Tampa Tribune

There is an entire unit at U.S. Special Operations Command dedicated to lessons learned.

But those who don’t work there can learn a lot about commando actions via a new book — “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command,” by Sean Naylor, who has long chronicled the special operations community.

The book opens with the efforts to create a unified special operations command structure in the wake of the disastrous attempt to rescue 52 hostages held by Iran — Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980. The deeply reported, richly sourced, heavily footnoted tome tells the story of the creation of the world’s most effective and lethal manhunting organization.

But publishing the book was neither easy nor smooth, with opposition from service chiefs, interpersonal squabbles, special mission unit rivalries, baptisms by fire, and a lack of understanding by even senior most military leaders about what special operations forces do. One paragraph in particular, on the penultimate page of Naylor’s 439-page opus, explains the importance of “Relentless Strike” when it comes to lessons learned…

Read on.



Wed, 09/09/2015 - 12:51pm

An interesting review on FP by a former "insider" Colonel (Ret) Keith Nightingale:…

This passage struck me as ouch: 'What we now know, is that JSOC is the arguably the most potent tactical force on the planet. It can perform incredible feats of skill and combat creativity as the President may wish. But — so what? In all the various wars with which JSOC has been publicly engaged, as a Nation, we now are arguably worse off than before. Why is this?'

Outlaw 09

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 3:01pm

There us a simple reason for the success of the 24 hour cycle that drove JSOC in Iraq and AFG.

When one sucks literally a very large majority of all in theater ISR assets when they are needed and or they are parked on standby coupled with a large analysis section--any shooting unit can be successful.

What JSOC needs to ask--by literally freezing for themselves virtually all ISR assets in theater did it cause a major shortage for the rest of the troop units working in Iraq and AFG AND did that led to increased troop unit causality rates.