Tag Archive for U.S. Army Special Operations Command

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Study: Legal Implications of the Status of Persons in Resistance

The purpose of this study is to provide a synthesis of the prevailing issues and analysis concerning the legal status of persons in resistance. This document refers broadly to resistance and those involved in it, meaning those individuals comprising the resistance element, US personnel supporting or countering the resistance, and the standing government. In alignment with this focus, the document explores the status of personnel particularly in foreign internal defense (FID), counterinsurgency (COIN), and unconventional warfare (UW) operations. When originally conceived, this manuscript was to be an updated volume of the 1961 American University Special Operations Research Office (SORO) study, The Legal Status of Participants in Unconventional Warfare. The National Security Analysis Department (NSAD) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) was asked by the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), G-3X Special Programs Division, to review and analyze the historical use of international law, the law of land warfare, and applicable international conventions and update the SORO study accordingly and also include unique legal considerations regarding the status of irregular forces. Because many aspects of both law and policy have changed since the 1961 publication, particularly within the context of US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, USASOC requested that this manuscript be a new document to account for these changes, highlight key legal questions, and position these questions within the context of hypothetical scenarios and historical examples.

Joint Staff Strategic Multi-Layer Assessment on Bio-Psycho-Social Applications to Cognitive Engagement

The underlying concept of this paper is how bio-psycho-social approaches to cognitive engagement, described in greater depth by DeGennaro, may be put to use to collect, analyze, and/or apply information to meet a tactical, operational, or strategic end. This White Paper will focus on the proverbial “rubber meets the road” approaches of behavioral operations in the human domain where the former is “the study of attributes of human behavior and cognition that impact the design, management, and improvement of operating systems, and the study of the interaction between such attributes and operating systems and processes” and the latter is “the presence, activities (including transactions both physical and virtual), culture, social structure/organization, networks and relationships, motivation, intent, vulnerabilities, and capabilities of humans (single or groups) across all domains of the operational environment (Space, Air, Maritime, Ground, and Cyber).” Information Operations (IO) doctrine defines the cognitive domain as the component of the information environment (IE) that encompasses the gray matter of those who transmit, receive, and act upon information. Cognitive operations such as information processing, perception, judgment, and decision-making are the most vital aspect of the IE. Cognition is influenced by individual and cultural beliefs, norms, vulnerabilities, motivations, emotions, experiences, morals, education, mental health, identities, and ideologies and thus requires research and analysis methods from the bio-psycho-social sciences to understand and manipulate. When, how, and most importantly why to apply that understanding to US advantage at the tactical, operational, and strategic level is the focus of this effort.

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Primer on Russian Unconventional Warfare in Ukraine 2013-2014

This document is intended as a primer—a brief, informative treatment—concerning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It is an unclassified expansion of an earlier classified version that drew from numerous classified and unclassified sources, including key US Department of State diplomatic cables. For this version, the authors drew from open source articles, journals, and books. Because the primer examines a very recent conflict, it does not reflect a comprehensive historiography, nor does it achieve in-depth analysis. Instead, it is intended to acquaint the reader with the essential background to and course of the Russian intervention in Ukraine from the onset of the crisis in late 2013 through the end of 2014.

United States Army Special Operations Command Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide

This guide is a quick reference of Unconventional Warfare (UW) theory, principles, and tactics, techniques and procedures. It is not a complete treatment of the subject. To guide further study, it includes (in annotated form) as many references as possible starting with established law, policy and doctrine, includes scientific studies, and finishes with recommended reading on the subject.

Joint Staff Strategic Assessment: Maneuver and Engagement in the Narrative Space

This paper was produced in support of the Strategic Multi-layer Assessment (SMA) of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) led by Joint Staff J39 in support of the Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The paper leverages and melds the latest thinking of academic and operational subject matter experts in fields of organizational and social dynamics, network analysis, psychology, information operations and narrative development, social media analysis, and doctrine development related to aspects of maneuver and engagement in the narrative space.

Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Assessment of ISIL Influence and Resolve

During FY 2014, the SOCCENT Commander requested a short-term effort to understand the psychological, ideological, narrative, emotional, cultural, and inspirational (“intangible”) nature of ISIL. As shown below, the SMA1 team really addressed two related questions: “What makes ISIL attractive?” or how has the idea or ideology of ISIL gained purchase with different demographics; and “What makes ISIL successful?” or which of the organization’s characteristics and which of the tactics it has employed account for its push across Syria and Iraq. The effort produced both high-level results and detailed analyses of the factors contributing to each question. The central finding was this: While military action might degrade or defeat factors that make ISIL successful, it cannot overcome what makes ISIL’s message and idea attractive.

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategy Studies and Casebooks

The Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) series consists of a set of case studies and research conducted for the US Army Special Operations Command by the National Security Analysis Department of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. The purpose of the ARIS series is to produce a collection of academically rigorous yet operationally relevant research materials to develop and illustrate a common understanding of insurgency and revolution. This research, intended to form a bedrock body of knowledge for members of the Special Forces, will allow users to distill vast amounts of material from a wide array of campaigns and extract relevant lessons, thereby enabling the development of future doctrine, professional education, and training.

Special Operations Command Central Multi-Method Assessment of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Early in 2014, as it became clear that the rise of the so-­called “Islamic State” was becoming a significant menace to Regional Stability and US Interests, SOCCENT began a dialogue with Dr. Hriar Cabayan and his co-workers regarding a topic that has been at the core of the struggle against Violent Extremism. That question has been, and remains today, a perplexing one for those of us from Western cultures and societies: “What precisely are we contesting, and what is it that fuels the adversary’s power?” The contents of this paper reflect some of the work that Dr. Cabayan and his colleagues are doing to help us understand and comprehend this “intangible power” across a unique enterprise of academicians, scientists, policy intellectuals, current and former Foreign Service, military, and intelligence professionals. Most importantly, their efforts to improve our comprehension will enable us to adjust our efforts, our operations, our investments, and our risk-­‐calculations to more effectively contest it and the organization that wields it. I am grateful for their tireless work in this regard, and I commend it to the reader.

U.S. Army Special Operations Command Counter-Unconventional Warfare White Paper

During the last decade, the U.S. military, along with its interagency and international partners, has generated significant capability to counter the irregular threats presented by non-state terrorists, insurgents, and criminal groups. During these same years, a distinct challenge to America and its partners in NATO and beyond has arisen through an innovative mix of such irregular threats. This challenge is Hybrid Warfare combining conventional, irregular, and asymmetric means, to include the persistent manipulation of political and ideological conflict. Foreshadowed by Iranian actions throughout the Middle East and by Chinese “unrestricted warfare” strategists in the 1990s, Hybrid Warfare has now reached its most brazen form in Russia’s support for separatist insurgents in Ukraine.