Building Special Operations Partnerships in Afghanistan and Beyond by Austin Long, Todd C. Helmus, S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Christopher M. Schnaubelt and Peter Chalk, Rand Corporation
Building the capacity of Afghan special operations forces (SOF) is a key goal of the United States and its coalition partners. In February and March of 2013, RAND analysts conducted extensive battlefield circulations in Afghanistan and visited multiple training sites for Afghan SOF. The mentors at these sites hailed from a variety of International Security Assistance Force contributing nations, including the United States, Lithuania, Romania, Australia, Norway, and the United Kingdom. This report summarizes key partnering practices across these international partners and presents findings from SOF partnership case studies in Iraq and Colombia. The goal is to identify best practices for SOF partnership that can benefit the development of the Afghan special operations capability. These best practices also have broader applicability for special operations partnerships beyond Afghanistan.