U.S. Special Operations Forces in a Period of Transition

Authored by:
Francisco Wong-Diaz
Published on 2/1/2017
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Dr. Wong-Diaz, an expert in international security law, looks at the effects of the post-cold war strategic environment on Special Operations Forces (SOF). After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 there was hope for a more peaceful world order. That all changed after the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  A resurgent Russia and a rising communist China, along with failed states, humanitarian crises, and ungoverned spaces, creates a strategic security environment that is complex and dangerous. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey once stated, "We now face multiple, simultaneous security challenges from traditional state actors and transregional networks of sub-state groups..." Dr. Wong-Diaz looks at the threats to our U.S. vital interests, our strategy for dealing with those threats, and our reliance on third offset technologies that are innovative, disruptive, and advantageous to the United States. He concludes with a look at the human dimension of SOF within USSOCOM and the Global SOF Network (GSN). The GSN strives for interoperability and is a key component of the indirect approach: an interoperable network of networks to achieve operational success.