From the commandant
By Maj. Gen. Bennet S. Sacolick
Originally published in the January-February 2011 edition of Special Warfare
Part of our vision of making the JFK Special Warfare Center and School a world-class training center is to develop innovative, relevant doctrine, informed by insightful future concepts. That part of the vision is equally as important as the skills and training that we provide, because doctrine drives our training. We must achieve consistency in our understanding of terms, definitions and functions in order for special-operations forces to perform at their full capacities within the Army and the Department of Defense.
In this issue of Special Warfare, Admiral Eric Olson's introduction to Jeffrey Hasler's article, "Defining War 2011," reminds readers of the importance of understanding doctrinal terms and their implications. Hasler's article examines in depth the definition of basic terms, such as role, function, core competency and core task, and goes on to examine the core activities of Army special-operations forces. In seeking to clear any doctrinal fog, he provides comprehensive lists of official and nondoctrinal terms. These unique lists should prove to be invaluable for future reference and discussion, and readers are encouraged to reproduce them.
In the area of future concepts, SWCS's Army Special Operations Capabilities Integration Center, or ARSOCIC, works to anticipate future threats and requirements for ARSOF and to analyze guidance from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Army and the U.S. Special Operations Command, or USASOC, pertaining to our future operational environment. ARSOCIC also validates future concepts through experimentation and war games.
The director of ARSOCIC, Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Thomas, writes in this issue about the need to make special operations the seventh warfighting function, or WfF. The current WfFs replace the battlefield operating systems and serve as a default "forcing function" to capture considerations for planning. Special operations is woven into each function but all too often is omitted in the early stages of planning. USASOC is working closely with Army leadership to change doctrine and demonstrate not only that special operations is an element of combat power that should be addressed at all levels of professional military education, but also that it is crucial that special operations has a seat at the table during all phases of operational planning and execution. Special operations as a WfF will directly enable service leaders and our own Army leaders to better understand and appreciate the roles, effects, capabilities and limitations of special operations in contributing to military operations. SOF have and will continue to have a major role in contributing to the execution of full-spectrum operations.
To better achieve a shared understanding and appreciation of all of our Army's capabilities, ARSOCIC is working with the Army Training and Doctrine Command's Army Capabilities Integration Center, or ARCIC, to address ways in which ARSOF can contribute to other military components' operations and to achieve inclusion of SOF as a warfighting function. ARSOCIC is also working with ARCIC's centers of excellence, including the Movement and Maneuver Center of Excellence, to better identify future battlefield requirements and ways of preparing Soldiers to meet the demands of the current and future operating environments.
It is an exciting time to be working at SWCS. The ability to meet the challenges of a changing environment with constrained resources demands that we produce an agile and adaptive force, and in striving toward that goal, we will need the azimuth provided by clear doctrine and concepts.