From the commandant
By Brig. Gen David G. Fox
Originally published in the April-June 2014 edition of Special Warfare
For more than three years, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, the Special Operations Center of Excellence, has worked diligently on drafting and socializing the 7th Warfighting Function. With the publication of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-8-5, The U.S. Army Functional Concept for Engagement, which expanded on the ideas presented in TP 525-3-0, The U.S. Army Capstone Concept and TP 525-3-1, The U.S. Army Operating Concept a new warfighting function was introduced. Engagement is what Army special operations forces do best. But, we cannot do it alone. As Maj. Gen. Bennet S. Sacolick and Brig. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr. noted in an article in Mission Command, “The ability to work among diverse cultures to win population-centric conflicts is not a skill that can only reside within SOF.” The ability to fight on these battlefields of the future must be shared by SOF and their brothers in the conventional force. That can only be done by true interdependence between the forces. In this issue of Special Warfare, Lt. Col. Lawrence “Hank” Henry, the commander of the Special Operations Training Detachment at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., takes a look at the obstacles that are impeding the creation of a “deliberate and mutual reliance by conventional forces, special operations forces and elements within the joint interagency/intergovernmental/multinational community to conduct operations in an interdependent manner.” By assessing the ongoing training at JRTC, and the role SOF plays, Henry has implemented changes within the Special Operations Training Detachment designed to maximize opportunities to build interdependence into training scenarios, which not only builds personal relationships but also builds professional understanding and creates common operating practices. If the force trains together, then their actions will be second nature when together in actual combat. By approving the 7th Warfighting Function and including Engagement in The U.S. Army Operating Concept, the Army has now given SOF a seat at the table, allowing for SOF involvement before conflict begins. It also creates the time and space for the synchronization of SOF and conventional force capabilities. Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker, Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center, summed up the need for interdependence pretty succinctly in the forward to the Army Functional Concept of Engagement: “The Army also must possess a broad range of capabilities to shape future operational environments, maintain its lethality on the battlefield and be able to leverage unified action partners to reduce demands, prevent and end conflict. The engagement warfighting function will institutionalize into Army doctrine, training, education, and leader development, the capabilities and skills necessary to work with host nations, regional partners, and indigenous populations in a culturally attuned manner that allows bridging language barriers, opening lines of communication and connections with key political and military leaders in a way that is both immediate and lasting. It enhances interdependence between special operations forces, conventional forces and unified action partners while incorporating the tenets of the emerging idea of the human domain. As a result, this warfighting function will contribute to mission accomplishment by providing better, more synchronized lethal and nonlethal capabilities to assess, shape, deter and influence the decisions and behavior of a nation’s security forces, government and people.” Further, the building of interdependence between SOF/CF/JIIM partners will establish a common framework for operations in the complex and uncertain future operational environment.