Small Wars Journal

Obama Unleashes Hunter-Killers on ISIS

Obama Unleashes Hunter-Killers on ISIS by Kim Dozier, The Daily Beast

The Obama administration is dispatching a targeting force of elite U.S. special operations troops into northern Iraq, after top U.S. defense and intelligence officials warned the ISIS network is growing faster than the coalition that’s fighting it, senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast.

The new special operations task force, led by the elite Joint Special Operations Command, is aimed at denting the so-called Islamic State group’s popularity by decimating its leadership and gathering the intelligence needed to cut off more of its operations before they can launch.

JSOC will initially lead the targeting effort in Iraq, but the special operations footprint could be expanded to include other special operations forces, a senior military official told The Daily Beast on Tuesday…

Read on.


Outlaw 09

Thu, 12/03/2015 - 12:45pm

Whether JSOC "heavy or light" version---it is great that they will shoot their way through various levels of IS leadership, bomb makers and or funders--BUT and this is the big BUT there is something that they cannot address--HOW will they defeat the informational warfare AND even more so---HOW does JSOC "heavy or light" defeat an ideology......??

The takeaway for the first JSOC was---no matter how many you kill and or capture the upcoming leadership inside first QJRR, then AQI and now IS just gets extremely good at what they do-that is the lessons learned from years of chasing terror groups from the 60/70s and it still applies to today.

IS has morphed "takfirisim" into a "ideology" that even Islam is having problems with.

Dave Maxwell

Wed, 12/02/2015 - 4:18pm

Kimberly Dozier references Project Gray. I attended the conference on Monday as well. The US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School has initiated a collaborative web site that will be very useful to all of those who want to focus on the Gray Zone. I would urge those with an interest to join the site and begin contributing. It can be accessed at this link:


QUOTE Linder held a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., to address how best to fight ISIS, to teach Washington policymakers and think tankers how special operations teams work to help local forces—a messy, years-long process.END QUOTE

​From the Project Gray Web Site​:​

QUOTE About Project Gray

Project Gray is a collaborative study of the Gray Zone - the space between war and peace - where competitive interactions that fall short of a formal state of war, and which are characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty about relevant policy and legal frameworks, are undertaken by state and non-state actors. Conventional military responses by the Department of Defense lie outside the spectrum of appropriate responses for Gray Zone challenges. To address these conflicts, we must evolve our organization, intellectual, and institutional models to operate successfully in the Gray Zone.

Through a series of publications, forums, and events with academic, government, and military partners and other interested parties, Project Gray will enable us to analyze regional and trans-national conflicts, find solutions and develop best practices to operate in the middle ground between war and peace. It is our hope that the information shared and understanding gained can be used across geographic lines in response to similar challenges.

Project Gray is an initiative of the U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence. We invite you to get engaged and join the conversation! END QUOTE

Now regarding this article and MG Linder's comments. The only thing I can hope for is that the deployment of this "targeting force" could be to satisfy the need for immediate and visible action that can demonstrate metrics and actually provide "cover" and start buying some time for the forces conducting special warfare to operate. Maybe there is a campaign plan that will employ surgical strike forces and special warfare forces in a mutually supporting and complementary manner.


QUOTE The idea behind the new expeditionary force is to re-create a smaller version of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) cell that operated in Iraq during the U.S. occupation. That force eventually carried out dozens of raids each night, with the evidence or information from captives in the first raid leading to the next raid.

Carter and Chairman Dunford told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the new “expeditionary” special operations force would carry out raids and hostage rescues in Iraq and Syria.

“The raids in Iraq will be done at the invitation of the Iraqi government and focused on defending its borders and building the Iraqi security force's own capacity,” Carter said at Tuesday’s hearing​.

The targeting troops are part of a two-pronged attack by special operations forces, to buy time for the work of 50 special operations advisers, who are headed to northern Syria to work with the so-called Syrian Arab Coalition, which includes the Kurdish fighters that have proved to be some of the most effective in winning territory back from ISIS.

The idea is to use the same model as the one in Afghanistan in 2001, when roughly 60 U.S. Special Forces Green Berets worked with the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban.

“You have to empower locals to fix their own problems,” said Maj. Gen. James Linder, commander of the Green Beret’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“You cannot clear out those villages with Americans and have the same results,” he said in an interview with The Daily Beast.

“So you have to get in there to find out who is the key communicator, what’s going to motivate those folks, what is their cause,” he said.

The U.S. advisers can teach them everything from how to train a small unit to carry out an ambush to how to coordinate multiple teams attacking the same target—something that rebel forces on their own have to learn by trial and error, with often deadly and disastrous results.

Other important lessons: teach them not to hit infrastructure or civilians, so that they’ll actually have something to govern afterwards.

Linder held a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., to address how best to fight ISIS, to teach Washington policymakers and think tankers how special operations teams work to help local forces—a messy, years-long process.

“You need to manage expectations in the U.S. public,” he said, echoing top U.S. military officials who have spoken of this as a generational fight. “This will be a long-term engagement.” END QUOTE