Publications from 2022
Special Operations Research Topics 2023

As special operations adapt and evolve to meet new challenges, SOF need to prepare themselves and be employed in new and unique ways. The questions posed in the Special Operations Research Topics 2023 booklet address many of these complex challenges and invite research into the intersection of human history and emergent technology. The nearly 40 research topics, each including several sub-questions, range from compound security threats in the Sahel to the Russian and Chinese ways of irregular warfare in an effort to facilitate research and writing across professional military education, academia, and the joint force.

Published on 9/13/2022
The Network Illusion: How a Network-Centric Special Operations Culture Impedes Strategic Effect
Edited by:

America has often developed very impressive methods of waging war and protecting strategic interests, but all too often, its senior leaders are too optimistic about how much those methods can actually accomplish. The heart of U.S. national security challenges today is an ongoing erosion of American influence globally. What the U.S. now requires is a modification of older ideas in ways appropriate for the modern age. The works contained in this edited volume are signposts of a future that America still has time to choose wherein its efforts to safeguard its people and protect its interests can be remade and reforged in ways appropriate and successful in this era of dazzling technologies and enormous global change.

Published on 8/29/2022
Out of stock; click here to propose a re-print funding line
ArcticNEXT: Compound Security Threats in Strategic Competition
Authored by:

In this Quick Look, Dr. Alessa describes ArcticNEXT, a collaborative effort designed to provide the Nation with the best available approaches for compound security threats in strategic competition. Together with JSOU’s constellation of partners and participants, ArcticNEXT is providing, for the first time, cohesion and critical mass in service of SOF’s mission set as well as to the Joint Force. While it uses the Arctic as a test bed, its broader focus on compound security threats in strategic competition provides tangible outcomes and products.

Published on 8/25/2022
A Perilous Future: High-Intensity Conflict and the Implications for SOF
Authored by:
Peter Mccabe, Andrew Brown, James Kiras, Nicolas Provencher, Andrew Brown, Nicholas Kramer, Tony Balasevicius, C.G. Landry, Bernd Horn, Keith Carter

Up until the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the idea of a quickly manifesting high-intensity war was unfathomable to most. Awareness of how such a conflict would severely impact the stability and prosperity of the interconnected world, as well as the accessibility, proliferation, and lethality of modern technology, seemed to make the prospect of conflict so devastating that no rational state would risk engaging in all out war. However, the Russian assault on Ukraine underlines the point “never say never.” Through design or miscalculation, the occurrence of a major conflict between peer, near-peer, and / or regional powers can never be discounted. As such, this volume examines the challenges and potential roles that SOF will face in the event of high-intensity, conventional warfare.

Published on 7/22/2022
Special Operations Forces Transformation in the Future Operating Environment
Authored by:
Peter Mccabe, Charles Barham, Andrew Brown, Bernd Horn, Jay Lachine, Simone Ledeen, Michael Manning, Ruari Nicholson, Jason Yeremiy, Charlie Black

In this edited volume, the authors pose solutions to Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) future challenges. Looking to the national defense strategy, this volume describes the role of competition in the future and the three ways SOF can compete, deter, and win. SOF must maintain their edge, and their transformation needs to be addressed at the individual, organizational, and institutional levels. This volume takes risk into consideration while addressing SOF transformation in three key areas: SOF roles and missions, culture, and great power competition. Both U.S. and Canadian SOF perspectives are outlined in this volume, and each chapter urges readers to consider how SOF might better compete short of armed conflict.

Published on 6/30/2022
The Fourth Age of SOF: The Use and Utility of Special Operations Forces in a New Age

This sweeping monograph chronicles the history of modern Special Operations Forces (SOF) and insightfully describes their new challenges. The authors have compiled an excellent, concise history of SOF’s three earlier ages: 1941–1960, 1961–1979, and 1980–2020, setting the stage for projecting SOF’s Fourth-Age roles in the emerging era of strategic competition. The early years were not easy, but with determination and perseverance, the SOF community prevailed, and four decades of remarkable and unprecedented SOF achievements resulted. As they begin their Fourth Age, SOF will again be challenged.

Published on 3/4/2022