Home / News / Military & Defense / The US military’s special ops has solemnly depressed back to its roots — and it’s profitable off in Iraq and Syria

The US military’s special ops has solemnly depressed back to its roots — and it’s profitable off in Iraq and Syria

US special forces troops Mosul Iraq ISIS
member of the US Army take position at the US territory of a base
for Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces in Makhmour,
southeast of Mosul, Iraq, Dec 23, 2016.

REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

The US military’s special operations forces (SOF) are
increasingly returning to their roots of advising foreign
militaries to fight for them — and it seems to be paying
dividends in Iraq and Syria.

The campaign against ISIS is being fought reduction by US
troops on the front lines, but instead is being conducted

by, with, and through” internal forces, Army
Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of CENTCOM, told Congress. 

There have been 3 big changes in how SOF has been used
against ISIS, and if successful, these new strategy competence be used
in future conflicts, Linda Robinson, a comparison researcher with
RAND, writes at The
Cipher Brief.

As Robinson notes, special ops are on the belligerent in
ideal numbers, they accompany and are 
dispersed with
internal forces at the front, and they yield essential fire support
to internal forces.

In the late 1940s, SOF were seen to have little purpose in a new
universe where atomic weapons and vital bombers reigned. But
that changed with the emergence of the Cold War, where
substitute wars and insurgencies became some-more prevalent.

One of the first examples of the new way SOF were used was in the
1950s when the 10th Special Forces Group was tasked with
substantiating riotous forces behind Communist lines in eastern
Europe. “That was the moment Special Operations warriors indicate to
as their birthday,” Dwight John Zimmerman and John D.
Gresham write in “Beyond
Hell and Back: How America’s Special Operations Force Became The
Best Fighting Force In The World.” 

After 9/11, however, SOF began to be used in some-more “precision,
rarely kinetic strike forces enabled by record and linked
by a digitally networked battlefield.” But by and
large, the new counter-terrorism strategy in Iraq and
Syria may infer to be something of a reset to SOF’s former

The series of SOF in Iraq and Syria has now reached about
10,000, giving them the means to provide “meaningful
support to the accumulation of inland forces fighting
ISIS,” Robinson writes. 

Furthermore, SOF now accompany internal forces to secure
locations nearby the front lines. They no longer give tactical
recommendation from apart headquarters, where they had to analyze
operations by “the soda-straw viewpoint of drone feeds,”
Robinson says.

This allows them to see internal forces in action, and
therefore give better advice. 

For example, when SOF advisers supposing assistance that
galvanized to the 16th Iraq army multiplication in East
Mosul, they supposing assistance that galvanized the

Over the last year, SOF has increasingly supposing some-more fire
support. US Apache helicopters were first used in Jun 2016
to capture Qayyarah, which is now a entertainment bottom for
bloc forces’ attack on Mosul. This bottom now has an ICU, and
High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems set up to support the

US howitzers are also set up at a bottom in Hamman
al-Alil, providing support to Iraqi CTS and Federal Police
advancing into West Mosul. 

This support has been even some-more useful to Syrian
Democratic Forces, an strange force that is not heavily armed
but but is the categorical force fighting ISIS in

m-777 howitzer
with Golf Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment fire a
M-777 howitzer during Rolling Thunder, a biannual training
practice at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 9, 2014. Marines from various
units within the 2nd Marine Logistics Group trustworthy to 2nd
Maintenance Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd MLG to
yield logistical support to 10th Marines for the generation of
the exercise.

Lance Cpl. Sullivan
Laramie/US Marine Corps

Members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit have
also changed into Syria with 155mm howitzers to attack Raqqa.
It was reported i
Mar that US Marines nearby Raqqa “had killed hundreds
of rivalry fighters and broken some-more than 200
 One of the canons they used in these
strikes was the M-777 Howitzer, which fires 155mm
shells and has a operation of up to 25 miles. 

SOF has also recently helped position 500 internal forces near
the vital Tabqah Dam,
which was eventually wrested from ISIS. 

However, the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is far
from over. ISIS has dug bunkers, trenches and tunnels, and
laced Raqqa with mines, while in western Mosul, there
are still some-more than 400,000 civilians held in the middle
of complicated fighting.

But if the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria
succeeds, “this new way of mixing forces and using SOF to
approach a belligerent war, could turn a indication for conducting low- to
mid-level combat.”

Check out the full
essay at The Cipher Brief

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