Special Operations, Strategy

The U.S. Department of Defense defines special operations as operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These operations often require covert, clandestine, or low-visibility capabilities. Special operations are applicable across the range of military operations. They can be conducted independently or in conjunction with the operations of conventional forces or other government agencies and may include operations through, with, or by indigenous or surrogate forces.

Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets. Special operations are normally undertaken by smaller forces ...

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