Village Stability Operations and the Evolution of SOF Command and Control in Afghanistan: Implications for the Future of Irregular Warfare

Authored by:
William Knarr, Mark Nutsch
Published on 4/15/2020

In this monograph Bill Knarr and Mark Nutsch recount how the Special Operations Forces (SOF) command and control evolved with all of the Village Stability Operations (VSO) dimensions culminating ultimately in the creation of the Special Operations Joint Task Force. With the 2018  National Defense Strategy calling for expanding the competition space below the level of armed conflict, VSO provides a timely and relevant  example of how SOF can contribute to this vision. Just like terrorism, great power competition will play out in countries with weak sociopolitical systems. The inherently political character and joint, interagency, international/multinational, and corporate nature of VSO can be replicated  in many parts of the world for sustainable strategic effect. This monograph develops the concepts for SOF on how to contribute more  effectively and efficiently to the counterterrorism fight, but readers would do well to think about VSO principles and command and control in the context of great power competition.