U.S. Special Ops: 6 Things You Should Know

U.S. Special Ops: 6 Things You Should Know

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1. The origin of America’s special forces can be traced all the way back to 1676.
King Philip’s War, in which Native Americans clashed with British settlers and their Indian allies, was one of the bloodiest conflicts (per capita) in American history. In 1676, Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony granted Captain Benjamin Church permission to form a company made up of English soldiers and Christianized Native American forces trained in the so-called “skulking way of war.” These unconventional troops would have a decisive impact on the conflict, and constituted the first use of indigenous forces by an American unit in a direct capacity—now a key part of special operations techniques.

2. The U.S. Army Special Forces known as the Green Berets got their namesake headgear from a commando school in Great Britain.
During World War II, a group of elite U.S. Army Rangers trained at an intensive commando school in Scotland, run by British fighters who wore distinctive green berets. Upon graduation from the program, which included stringent training in mountaineering, river crossings and field survival, the soldiers were rewarded with the same berets. Though the U.S. Army did not authorize them to wear the berets at the time, those who earned the beret wore it secretly while they were in the field, separated from conventional forces.

3. President John F. Kennedy played a key role in the history of the Green Berets, and is a particular hero of the Army Special Forces.
In 1961, when President Kennedy was preparing to travel to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he sent word to Brigadier General William Yarborough for all Army Special Forces soldiers to wear their green berets for his visit. In advance of the visit, the U.S. Army officially authorized the beret as part of the Special Forces uniform, and Yarborough greeted the president wearing his own green beret. Kennedy continued his support for the Special Forces in 1962, calling the green beret “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.” To this day, Army Special Forces lay a wreath and a green beret on the late president’s grave every November 22, the anniversary of his 1963 assassination.

4. Fallout from the Iran hostage crisis in 1980 sparked reforms in the military—and the creation by Congress of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
The U.S. Congress created SOCOM, the organization that oversees Special Operations command across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, in the wake of the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, the mission ordered by then-President Jimmy Carter to rescue more than 50 diplomats being held hostage at the U.S. embassy in Iran. That disastrous mission highlighted the need for reform and reorganization within the military, and particularly for more coordination among the various Special Ops forces. Though each branch of the military has a Special Ops command that runs its own operations, SOCOM ensures that operatives from different forces standardize training practices and equipment and work together smoothly when necessary.

5. In 2015, U.S. Special Ops forces deployed to 147 countries—or 75 percent of the nations on the planet.
On any given day, forces under the U.S. Special Operations umbrella are operating in anywhere from 70 to 90 countries. Given those figures, it’s no wonder that all members of Special Ops forces are required to be proficient in at least one language other than English. Most have university degrees, and many undergo intensive language and culture training at universities or other institutions, such as the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, in order to be able to truly understand the regions and countries in which they’ll be working.

6. Among the elite teams under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) are…commando weathermen?
Their motto is “Eyes Forward.” Members of the Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) are not just skilled fighters in top physical condition; they also interpret meteorological data, often in hostile territory, and deliver crucial information to air and ground forces. Ever since the first SOWTs took part in World War I combat operation in France in 1918, these daring forecasters have been involved in conflicts and missions all over the world. Embedded with other Special Ops forces, including Navy SEALs, Delta Force and Army Rangers, SOWTs have participated in some of the most high-profile operations of the war on terror—including the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011—and have helped combat piracy, free hostages and provide humanitarian aid.

The life of a SEAL is full of pain, fear and exhaustion. Find out more about The Making of a SEAL.

Master Sgt. Scott Satterlee says the military could learn a lot from civilians

Master Sgt. Scott Satterlee is really good at shooting things. He’s a member of the U.S. Army’s elite 1st Special Forces Group based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. He’s also a nationally ranked competitive precision rifle shooter—and one of the military’s best marksmen.

You wouldn’t guess any of this if you met him. Satterlee is soft-spoken and humble—to the point of almost being self-deprecating. Though confident in his abilities, he doesn’t brag.

Recent hit films such as Zero Dark Thirty, Lone Survivor and American Sniper have put America’s special operations community in the spotlight like never before. It’s an odd turn of events for a community often called “the silent professionals.”

Satterlee says he ordinarily wouldn’t talk to a reporter. But another soldier encouraged him to share his story.

Satterlee says he has learned a lot about firearms in the world of competitive shooting. It’s influenced how he shoots—and why he came to recognize flaws in how the military prepares soldiers for war.

He’s the operations sergeant at JBLM’s Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course. After years of combat deployments around the world, training soldiers and shooting at civilian weapon ranges around the United States, he thinks it’s time we radically revamp the way we think about firearms training.

He says new approaches could save a lot of lives—soldiers and civilians alike.


For over twenty years, the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum has told the stories of those who have fought valiantly to protect the liberty we hold most dear. The Museum has preserved and honored the legendary feats of our Airborne and Special Operations Soldiers.

Serving as an adjunct to the local academic and cultural community, the Museum provides military history training and instruction to Soldiers and veterans, their families, and to the public at large. We invite you to plan a visit with friends and family.


Victory From Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience

The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum is hosting the “Victory from Within: The American Prisoner of War Experience” in its temporary gallery from May 7, 2021 – September &hellip

Traveling Korean War Memorial

The U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM), with generous support from the Airborne & Special Operations Museum Foundation, will open the “Traveling Korean War Memorial” on the Museum’s &hellip

Author Visit with Melinda Pash

Join us for an in-person author visit with Melinda Pash as she discusses her book, “In the Shadow of the Greatest Generation: the Americans Who Fought the Korean War”. This &hellip

Difference #1 – Requirements

Every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has requirements before enlistment.

There are basic, general requirements that are universal for every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine (regardless of branch or unit), and other qualifications specific to the military branch.

Special operations forces notoriously have harder requirements to meet for qualification.

It is what makes special-ops forces elite and highly valued by the military in the first place since entrance requirements are stiff.

Related Article – Navy SEAL Watches

Navy SEALs Requirements

Prospective Navy SEALs must meet basic requirements including:

Prospective SEALs also need to demonstrate “good moral character,” which is traditionally examined through your criminal record (or lack thereof) and other factors.

It’s worth mentioning that it is a misconception that the Navy SEALs are only open to males.

The U.S. Armed Forces recently approved the right for female Sailors to join elite forces, like the SEALs.

However, as of 2020, the Navy SEALs have yet to have its first female member.

U.S. Marines Requirements

Prospective Marines must meet basic requirements including:

  • Citizens of the United States
  • High school diploma (or GED equivalent)
  • No history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Pass a Military Entrance Processing Station Medical Exam
  • Pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) with a minimum score of 32. Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) have much higher ASVAB score requirements.

Like the SEALs, Marines now allow women to join the organization.

The only exception is combat arms specialties like infantry, artillery, and tank and amphibian tractor crew members.

The Marines have two primary special operations forces: Marine Raiders and Force RECON.

Force RECON units are usually assigned by the military to gather information in dangerous parts of the world, while Raiders are small lethal teams designed to eliminate high priority, dangerous targets.

Regardless, every Marine is considered a more elite soldier compared to regular service members of the Army and Navy.

George Sisler

George K. Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his valiant efforts during a pivotal attack in the Vietnam War. Surrounded and outnumbered, Sisler carried wounded men, called in airstrikes, and charged into enemy fire, all while coordinating and rallying his platoon. He was mortally wounded when single-handedly attacked an enemy position.

George Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer. He was also famous for his toughness, once parachuting while having a broken bone. The ASU ROTC department’s Ranger Challenge team is named Sisler’s Raiders in his honor.

George Sisler served as a United States Army intelligence officer (Photo: U.S. Army)

What’s So Special About Special Ops?

In Mozambique, they are training recruits to defend against marauding militants linked to Islamic State. They’ve long targeted the Taliban in Afghanistan. One might call them the Forrest Gump of warriors, involved in every recent notable military event from the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are the American special operations forces, including SEALs, Green Berets and Marine Raiders, who are tasked with some of the deadliest and trickiest missions around the globe. These elite units carry a host of contradictions — not least that they are currently at their lowest deployed strength in two decades, even as some argue their strategic importance is greater than ever. Read on.

What the future holds

Disarmament? Special operations forces deployed abroad totaled nearly 5,000 across 62 countries, according to a document released during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday. That was a 15 percent dip from 2020 and the lowest level since the 9/11 attacks sparked the “war on terror” in 2001. Part of that drawdown occurred at the end of Donald Trump’s tenure, as the former president in December ordered home a large portion of soldiers based in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. His successor, Joe Biden, won’t be eager to send them back into the fray, as the new president already faces the difficult choice on whether to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by May — so far, he’s considering a six-month delay, but he said Thursday that he “can’t picture” them there next year.

Not So Fast, Commander. Still, that doesn’t mean special operations forces will remain out of harm’s way. General Richard Clarke, who commands all U.S. special operations troops, said in that same document that elite Green Berets, Marine Raiders, Navy SEALs, and other specialized troops will head to Asia as America pivots from fending off Middle East extremism to combating the influence of Russia and China. “Nearly 40 percent of our deployed forces will focus on GPC requirements,” he said — using a term, “great power competition,” that highlights the role he envisions for these highly skilled troops.

Underpromise, Overdeliver. Special ops units fight in the gray area between overt war and tenuous peace. Their budget is only about $13 billion, just 2 percent of the military’s overall budget (as Blackhawk Down author Mark Bowden writes in The Atlantic, that’s the cost of just one aircraft carrier). Yet the military has shifted its strategy in recent decades from big guns, planes and tanks to wielding American force via small strikes by special ops units. Which paints the picture of a slice of the military that, despite its small portion of the budget, is disproportionately tasked with projecting Washington’s hard power.

Wanted: Cyber Soldiers. It’s easier to conduct smaller-scale missions than outright war, especially when the battlefield has increasingly gone online. “We need coders,” Clarke told thousands of defense industry representatives at last year’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. The message was that the military needs to open virtual doors in addition to blasting away the physical ones. Added to the unforgiving terrain of long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are new battlefields, like viral videos glorifying extremist violence as if it were a video game, top-secret servers where digital spies lurk and even universities where budding tech talent might be recruited by the enemy.

Needs for change

PTSD. For the last decade, special ops have borne the brunt of modern warfare under increasingly harrowing circumstances, with little recovery time between missions. While suicides for the military have decreased overall, suicides within the special operations sector have surged alarmingly. Because they are seen as almost invincible, special operations forces members are also less likely to seek treatment for PTSD. The Preservation of the Force and Family task force aims to provide special ops members with better care and access to treatment. For some, though, the answer to healing lies outside of the military system. Read more on OZY.

Cultural Support Teams. CSTs began in Afghanistan as a way to leverage women in the fight against terror. They were especially critical to establishing personal connections with the more than 14 million female Afghan civilians, given that the conservative culture forbade unmarried women from coming into contact with men outside of their families. Reaching those female civilians, particularly single ones, was crucial since they could potentially extract intel others could not. In a future where America can’t simply blast its way to victory, having women capable of communicating effectively may be the greatest weapon of all.

Increasing Diversity. Minorities are glaringly underrepresented in special operations units, as they face many structural barriers to becoming elite troops. Black and Hispanic service members have between a 6 and 10 percent lower special ops training graduation rate, according to research by the RAND Corporation. Programs that increase knowledge about special ops and encourage people of color to begin and complete training are essential to fixing the representation problem.

The forces at play

The Navy SEALs. Like the marine mammals, they’re amphibious: It’s in the name, which stands for “Sea Air and Land.” The SEALs began as several specialized Navy units created during World War II and the Korean War. But they branched out into their own official entity in 1962, shortly before training South Vietnamese troops to conduct secret river missions. But most people hadn’t heard of them until SEAL Team 6’s 2011 foray into Pakistan to kill 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Almost half of Navy recruits want to join the SEALs, but only 6 percent of those applicants meet the physical and mental requirements. Of those who make that first cut, three-quarters will wash out during training, which requires swimming 1,000 yards in less than 20 minutes and running 4 miles in 31 — not to mention proving one’s scuba diving prowess.

The Green Berets. One of the lesser-known legacies of President John F. Kennedy is his championing of the expansion of the U.S. Army Special Forces, which he dubbed the “Green Berets.” The elite soldiers were so important to Kennedy that his family requested their presence within hours of his assassination, with 46 Green Berets traveling to Washington the next day to attend his funeral as part of his honor guard. The Green Berets cover everything from humanitarian assistance to anti-narcotics operations to psychological warfare. Like the SEALs, the selection process is brutal they complete more than a year of grueling training, including a land navigation test where the recruits are made to survive for six days without help in the wilderness. There are about 7,000 active duty Green Berets.

The French Foreign Legion. While not American, you will find U.S. volunteers among its ranks. More than 9,000 men are enlisted in the legendary French expeditionary force, which accepts able-bodied men of any race, religion or nationality. In popular culture, many join “to forget” — a lost love, a criminal history or bad record with another country’s military. Those shady histories, plus their status as foreigners, has led some to call them “the expendables.” The Legion was first created by King Louis Philippe in 1831, and in 1883, a French general addressed legionnaire soldiers on their way to Northern Africa with the stirring call to arms: “You are soldiers meant to die.” The perks? Free food, free housing, free French classes, a salary that starts around $1,500 a month and the ability to start applying for French naturalization after three years of service. But nowadays recruitment standards include a background check, as the republic doesn’t want to arm just anyone.

Blackwater and Other Modern Mercenaries. Mercenaries have been a part of warfare since 2500 B.C., when they were first mentioned in the Amarna Letters — the reference to them was, well, less than pleasant (habiru, the word used for them, is related to “plunderer” or “murderer). The latest iteration has attracted many former special ops to private military companies, like the infamous “Blackwater,” started by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince and renamed “Xe Services” in 2009 and “Academi” in 2011 as it tried to shed its blood-spattered image. Shortly before leaving office, Trump pardoned four Blackwater contractors who opened fire on and killed 14 civilians in Iraq in 2007. In a historic first, soldiers from the Russian mercenary company Wagner face charges for war crimes committed in Syria after filming themselves killing an alleged Islamic State member in horrific fashion. Experts hope that the case will lead to more accountability for mercenaries operating globally.

Scandals and challenges

Special Treatment? Special ops units are increasingly being scrutinized, due to an alarming rise in suicides and highly publicized cases of everything from assault and spousal murder to sexual assault and child rape. In January, the Pentagon’s inspector general launched an investigation into whether some elite troops are committing war crimes. It might not take that much sleuthing to find out, given how some former special ops members brag about their actions. Another ex-soldier granted a break by Trump was Edward Gallagher, who was convicted of posing for a picture with a dead captive, but cleared of illegally killing him despite a text message prosecutors said Gallagher sent to friends: “Good story behind this one. Got him with my hunting knife.”

Budding Entitlement. A United States Special Operations Command investigation found that leadership had eroded across the special operations units, leading to more misconduct and ethics violations. The 2020 report found that some special ops members were taking the “special” part a little too far, leading to an “unhealthy sense of entitlement.” The solution? More hands-on leadership and throwing out the “bad apples” early on.

Soldiers ‘P.I.A.’ Tucker Carlson made headlines in early March when he criticized what he called the military’s attempts to feminize its ranks. The Fox News host argued that “while China’s military becomes more masculine,” the troops under Commander-in-Chief Biden were becoming “more feminine” — using a photo of an Air Force officer wearing a flight suit designed for pregnant women as his case study. Pentagon leaders have pushed for more diversity in the ranks, recruiting women for leadership roles while adjusting height requirements. And they didn’t take kindly to the criticism, with Michal Grinston, the Army’s top enlisted official, tweeting that women “lead our most lethal units with character.” It’s true that women are seen as key to winning tomorrow’s wars because of the camaraderie they are able to establish with civilian women, especially in gender-segregated societies.

Reliability and Transparency. Special operation units were active in 80 percent of the world’s countries in 2020. But unlike with other military units, there is an astounding lack of transparency about what they were doing, in part because so many of their projects are deemed classified. In March, Biden limited counterterrorism drone strikes outside of war zones in an effort to rein in special opps units. Now, senior CIA and military officials have to get the White House’s permission to conduct strikes.

Know these names

Don Shipley. Members of special ops teams are very protective of their ranks. Just ask Shipley, a YouTube detective of sorts who tracks down and exposes people who masquerade as former commandos or otherwise exaggerate their military bona fides. Shipley is one of the longest-serving SEALs in history, serving from 1985 to 2003. Yet he, too, has faced criticism: His YouTube channel, Stolen Valor, got taken down after he “doxxed” one of the people he exposed by releasing their personal information online.

Capt. Paris Davis. In 1965, all of Davis’ Army Special Forces comrades were shot by counterattacking North Vietnamese troops, leaving him leading South Vietnamese volunteers while rescuing the wounded. He was later nominated for the Medal of Honor for his heroics, but the Army somehow lost the nomination. And when his commander renominated him, the Army lost it again! His teammates, who continued to push for his nomination, saw the refusal to award him the medal as a reflection of his identity: Davis, who retired as a colonel, was one of the first Black special ops officers. But after years of inaction, his nomination is now up for review again, meaning the 81-year-old may finally be recognized.

Gene Yu. He served for eight years as a Green Beret, then wrote Yellow Green Beret: Stories of an Asian-American Stumbling Around U.S. Army Special Forces. As a civilian, he was promoting his book in Taiwan, whose president then happens to be his uncle, when a Taiwanese national, Chang An-Wei, was kidnapped by gunmen of the Abu Sayyaf jihaddist terrorist group — prompting Yu to step up and help arrange An-Wei’s release. Yu now runs Blackpanda, a cybercrime response company.

Kathleen Wilder. In 1980, Lt. Col. Kathleen Wilder completed the Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course but was denied graduation. However, she fought back, and won, with a sex-discrimination complaint against the Army that allowed her to wear the badge signifying her graduation. Now, 41 years later, Wilder’s dreams have come true: The Army announced in July 2020 that another woman had completed the course and was the first to be placed onto a Green Beret team.

The best military camouflage patterns

Posted On March 31, 2018 02:42:18

Camouflage is used the world over by man and beast, to hunt, to hide, to be seen. While many animals have specialized their camouflage to the local environment, military needs are more varied. More often than not military applications must be useful in multiple locations and in varying conditions. What is the most effective camo pattern, past or present, could be argued until the cows come home and new patterns are being prototyped every day. What we’re concerned with here is the popular opinion on production prints.

Whether serviceman, serving or retired, pattern aficionado, paintball or airsoft warrior, or simply like to voice your opinion on the best looking cloth -here is the place to vote.

The best military camouflage patterns is an open list, please add any missing patterns and respect the criteria.

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This article originally appeared at Ranker. Copyright 2015. Like Ranker on Facebook.


U.S. Special Ops: 6 Things You Should Know - HISTORY

If you're even a semi-regular reader of mine, by now you know I love the reality series The Selection: Special Operations Experiment, which airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. EST on History. (Or you can catch up on the show's site.) Thirty people with no military background undertake extreme physical and mental challenges their instructors are combat veterans from various U.S. Special Operations units including Navy SEALs, Special Forces Green Berets, and Army Rangers.

In past weeks I've had the honor of talking with a number of the instructors: Navy SEAL Ray Care about perseverance, developing the right mindset, and how the only limits we really have are self-imposed Army Ranger Tyler Grey about adaptability, attitude, mental toughness, and how in life there is no finish line and Navy SEAL Sean Haggerty about pushing through doubt--and how ability is so important in business and in life.

This week, just in time for the season finale, I talked to Navy SEAL Marcus Capone, a 13-year veteran and business executive, about leadership, developing people, mentoring high-performing individuals and teams. and the one quality every leader needs most.

Is it fair to say you push people past their limits. but only so those small failures can create teachable, even transformational moments?

Here's the thing: Not everyone will break, at least not physically.

We're more interested in mentally breaking them down. We have to push them as hard as we were pushed, or as hard as a particular class needs to be pushed. We want to mentally break them down so they figure out problems.

Of course that means some people will quit, and that's OK. If you get through training and it seemed at all easy, that means you didn't learn anything. Ultimately, we want people to learn, especially about themselves.

That's where real growth comes from. That's where real confidence comes from.

That requires keeping people under constant pressure and stress. which is something we're conditioned to think we should avoid.

That's the nature of high performance, though. In the broader world, BUD/S [Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training] gets a lot of attention, but it's just the start. Once you finish that training, there are still more phases to complete. You get pushed until the last day of training.

And yet the pressure doesn't end there. The pressure never ends. You're constantly being pushed, and learning, and dealing with pressure and stress.

There's a very good reason for that. When people who are not used to being put under stress are put under extreme stress, they can't react and function because their heart rate goes up, they can't think straight, they don't remember things. stress takes over.

When you deal with stress all the time, and then a stressful situation occurs, you can fall back to "been there, done that, know how to react" frame of mind. So that's why we train that way. When you learn to take the pressure, the stress, and still solve problems and still succeed. that's when you can accomplish anything.

When you're developing people, how do you figure out which buttons to press for certain individuals?

Initially, everyone starts on the same scale. People come in different sizes, different shapes, different backgrounds. so initially you put physical stress on them to see how they react.

Their personalities will emerge when they're under stress. Start turning up the pressure and people start to show their true colors: the ones that put out 100 percent, the grey men [people who blend in and don't stand out], and the ones that sit back.

Right away, we pounce on people sitting back.

Ultimately, we're trying to figure out who really wants to be there, and under pressure the people who are there for the right reasons start to emerge.

That includes a wide range of people. Great athletes may start out to be stronger or faster but when they get beaten down, they don't know how to deal with that and they quit. A lot of times, the best athletes don't get through training. Sometimes it's the grey men that do: They're not the biggest or strongest and you don't notice them right away, but they're working hard. and you see something in their eyes that says they're a little "off."

You have to be a little "off" to do what we do. We're looking for people who enjoy going through that pain. For example, no one enjoys being cold. but some people understand why they're doing it and therefore they relish it while they're doing it. They know why they're doing it, and what they will gain from it.

Trust me: None of us like being cold. but we knew we had to be cold.

When you're a leader and you're developing people--and pushing people--how do you put aside the natural desire to be liked?

The majority of us don't care if any of the students like us.

I don't mean that in a bad way. We look at it this way: In the SEALs, I'm there to find a person that will work with me in the future, will take on a huge responsibility in a platoon of 18 guys that will rely on them. so our job is not for them to like us but for us to find the right people. Our job is to weed out the ones who can't make it, who aren't there for the right reasons. and build the ones who are into warriors.

So, they all respect me 100 percent, and at the end, they usually do like me. They know if I'm raising my voice there's a reason, and they respect that. I try to be informative.

That's a lot like coaches. The ones I respected the most--and liked playing for the most--were the ones who pushed me to be the best I could be.

Absolutely. You respect the people who don't let you take the easy way out. We should all pray for a life where everything doesn't fall your way, because when it does, you don't grow.

Pray for a hard life, for challenges, for speed bumps. because then you're constantly growing and learning.

What advice do you have for people who train and develop others. which is basically every small-business owner?

There's this assumption that everyone in the military yells. I'm not a yeller. Anybody can yell. Anyone can yell and try to motivate people that way. That's not me.

If I raise my voice, or I'm speaking to someone in a direct way, it's for a good reason. I don't speak much. The things I do say I have thought through.

I try to step back and take in the whole picture and say, "How would I do this differently? How can I teach this individual in a way they will best understand?"

When you're talking instead of yelling, people listen. They ask questions. They comprehend.

If someone talks to me, and explains to me, and shows me, that's huge. Lots of special ops guys are guys that need to see it, feel it, touch it, and then do it.

Take the time to talk. Take the time to show. Take the time to let people do what you've shown them. That way, you've covered the full spectrum of how people learn. and you've shown them that you care enough to take the time to make sure they learn.

Even though you're putting people under pressure, you're also setting up an environment where they can succeed, not fail.

We never set people up for failure. In the military, on The Selection, or in the business world, you never want to set people up to fail.

Your primary job as a leader is to give people every opportunity to succeed. That doesn't mean making things easy, though--it means pushing people to learn to grow and adapt and perform at the highest level they possibly can.

When you find the right people,that's what "success" means: doing the absolute best you can.

Differences Between Foreign Internal Defense (FID) and Counter Insurgency (COIN)

Here at , we frequently get questions from our readers, many of whom are or will shortly be aspiring members of our Special Operations Forces. Since most of our articles deal with the training aspect of SOF, we always welcome them.

We had a question and answer session this past weekend in one of our forums which led to several questions being asked after the fact via social media. One of them, I felt deserved a column all of its own.

One of our readers emailed me at my private email address….which I would love to know how he got it, but would be a story for another time. He had a great question which read: “I hope to begin Selection in the next few months and have been reading everything I can get my hands on about SOF (Good man) and I am very confused about the differences between what is FID (Foreign Internal Defense) and what is COIN (Counter Insurgency). Am I just stupid or is (sic) the two similar?”

First off my friend, no you are not stupid. There is always confusion as to what constitutes FID and COIN. In fact, most of the Army is probably confused about it as well. So, don’t worry about it. When you reach the course, hopefully, all of those questions will be answered for you.

However, for the purposes of this discussion, let’s take a look at FID as well as COIN and perhaps we can clear it up for you just a little bit. So first we’ll begin with Foreign Internal Defense or FID. What is it and what is the definition of FID?

Foreign Internal Defense is defined by the Army “ Participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or other designated organization to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, insurgency, terrorism, and other threats to its security ”

FID is the backbone of what Special Forces does along with Unconventional Warfare (UW).In an earlier piece, I wrote about the art of teaching in Special Operations. And it is an art. The key to FID is to build rapport with the host nation (HN) forces. And having the language and cultural background to understand, adapt and thrive with the HN is vital. Special Forces troops receive anywhere between 4-6 months (minimum) of language training before they go the operational groups.

Read Next: Special Operations Forces Standards Must Remain High

FID, like UW, isn’t that sexy, linear, short term operation that makes for great YouTube videos but they stop wars from happening and the entire concept is for the SOF unit to work themselves out of a job and have the HN forces conducting unilateral operations on their own.

In a combat situation or wartime FID mission, the SOF units lead and sometimes creates a new unit where the need exists. The units are selected, trained and then led by SOF personnel. The next phase is the SOF unit then advises the HN units through the entire mission sequence and accompanies them on their missions. And once the HN forces are capable of conducting unilateral operations with no US assistance, then the mission is complete.

During peacetime or limited conflict, the HN will request US assistance through diplomatic channels which is then passed thru DOD down to USSOCOM. At times it can move quickly or be a long convoluted process. But once the troops are deployed it is a gradual operation where multiple deployments will take place, sometimes over several years. The HN and US SOF frequently build great relationships at the operational level.

And a successful peacetime FID operation stops the need to for the US to be forced to commit combat conventional forces in the future. It was widely discussed among SF troops for years that every SF officer should spend time among HN forces as a guest of their military. Although a great idea, the shortage of manpower has never allowed that to happen.

While FID is not an SOF-type mission only, SOF personnel are vastly better prepared to conduct peacetime FID operations over the conventional units. SOF are designed to facilitate operations not only by, with and through other forces and nations but also with politically sensitive agencies and organizations.

The Army Manual 3-24 defines counterinsurgency (COIN) as the “military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat an insurgency.” The most bizarre thing about COIN is that in the Army’s own manual, it says “Insurgencies and its tactics are as old as warfare itself”, and history is chock full of insurgencies against occupying or hostile powers. The Hebrews under Moses rebelling against Egypt, nearly every country in the European and North African region rebelling against the rule of the Romans etc.

Yet the Army acts like COIN is a new phenomenon every time it faces it. And every time they do, they start from scratch and send hundreds of staff guys to re-write the manual and saddle the troops with a host of new acronyms to learn.

While there is an abundance of COIN doctrine and material available, each insurgency is different and the commanders have to recognize and use their situational awareness, good judgment and above all patience in achieving their goal.

Read Next: “What Were Green Berets Doing in Niger?” - Their Job

COIN is a subset of FID and the ultimate goal of the US in a COIN environment is having it end in a FID mission. However, our enemies are not going to take on the conventional might of the US in a conventional type conflict like World War II because they know, they will surely lose. They instead enter into protracted, limited war. And it is this type of conflict that the US military has always struggled with. Why?

Because the US has always operated on the premise that to win, they must defeat the enemy on the field of battle and demand unconditional surrender. In an insurgency, the insurgent army may lose nearly every tactical battle but still achieve their goals strategically. Tactical actions in the COIN realm must be linked not only to strategic and operational military objectives but also to the host nation‘s essential political goals.

COIN to be effective requires decision making at all levels, not just at the high command of the military and political offices. The tactical level military units at the conventional level don’t normally have the cultural expertise and the language capability that the SOF units do.

But for the counterinsurgency to be effective and win requires political victory. That is the strategic sympathies of the population must be won. What we called in an earlier age the “hearts and minds” approach. Success isn’t just defeating the insurgents on the field of battle. But it is to identify the root causes that allowed the insurgency to exist in the first place. Then, along with the host nation, the US must implement sustainable political, economic, military, and social solutions.

The HN will be guided by their Internal Defense and Development (IDAD) goals of which FID or Security Assistance Forces (SAF) can be applied. Regardless, the COIN, to be effective must be partnered with the HN forces (military, political, economic) at all levels

So is it clearer now? Just like mud eh? Don’t worry as time goes on and hopefully you graduate the course, you’ll be asked to re-invent the wheel all over again. Someone will task a bunch of officers to rewrite the COIN and quite possibly the FID manuals and the Big Army will act like it never heard of it before. And while the definition of UW has and will change again, SF will continue to drive on in that realm as they are the best-equipped unit to handle that. But that is a piece for another time.

The default setting is the perfect beginning stage for every player who is not that experienced with playing this game. However, as the game progresses and you get a little experience you should try to play with the settings to see how the game can be improved. It is definitely worth the try. Make all the changes you can to perfect your game.

With the great choice of weapons, it is necessary to know what each one can do. Being fully familiar with the way you can achieve your goal in the battle is crucial for making progress. You must always know what your weakness is, as well as the strengths you can rely on.

Can you spot the signs of a military dating scammer?

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I met a sergeant in the Army on Facebook from the Zoosk dating site. We have been texting since May. His name is Sgt. Larry Williams, and he was in Afghanistan from Fort Campbell.

He started asking me to send $400 for a secure phone line. I tried to raise the money but was making myself sick trying. He says he was deployed to Africa about three weeks ago, and kept asking about the money. I told him I just did not have it.

His response was that he could not take the texting, so I said I guess that meant that we were over. He responded that he would rather forget about the phone than to lose me.

Is He For Real?

Hi, Ms. Vicki.

I really need your help because I’m trying to help my Army guy from Fort Campbell. You see, he is deployed and he needs my help financially or he cannot come home from downrange and see me for his R&R because he has to pay his fees.

His commander contacted me and said he still needs $12,000 before he can be released. At first, it was three thousand and I sent it. Then I was contacted saying he needs more.

This man is the love of my life and I really want to be with him. He has been through so much on these deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s so unfair that the military would put all of these restrictions on them before releasing them. He needs to relax and enjoy himself instead of going from one war to the next. He hasn’t been home in three years!

What can I do to draw attention to my soldier’s situation? Should I call my congressman, my senator -- who?

Stuck in a Serious Situation

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I’m writing you to find out if I am being scammed by this man who I met on Facebook. He is a lieutenant colonel in the army and stationed at Fort Campbell. We have been communicating online for the past year. He really has my heart now, and I can’t wait to finally be in his arms.

He is in special operations and has a lot of covert operations. One minute, he is in Afghanistan and the next minute he is in Africa. I have to send him money from time to time so that he can stay in constant communication with me, but that’s OK because I understand that he cannot have access to his money because he is constantly on the go.

I hadn’t heard from him for over three weeks, and I was so worried. Two days ago, he called me and said he needs money so he can come home. First, he will go to Nebraska to visit his family and then he will come and see me in Kentucky.

I’m supposed to pay $3,500 in fees to his unit so they can release him, and he will give me the money when he comes home and goes to his bank, Wells Fargo.

My family is very upset with me because they think I’m crazy for sending money to someone I have never met. I think I’m in love and helping a man who is serving our country. They say I’m being scammed. What do you think, Ms. Vicki?

Please Tell Me I Am Not Being Scammed

Each of these letters has a clue that shows the correspondent is a military romance scammer, not an actual service member. Below is our list of military scammer clues. Did you spot these clues? Did I miss any?

Met on a dating site. Lots of military members do use dating sites to meet people in their community. But you should know that bad guys use dating sites, too. They are trolling for women they can scam. If this “service member” swears he loves you and wants to marry you before he has even met you, beware. If he asks for money, it is a scam. Report him to the website and stop communicating with him.

Gives an imaginary name. Just because someone you met online gives you a name, rank, duty station or even military ID card, that doesn’t mean that this is a real person. It probably means they just have Photoshop. If they ask for money, it is a scam.

Cannot access his bank account. Military members can access their money from overseas. They pay bills online, buy items from websites and even arrange for car loans. If they ask you for money -- even a loan, this is a scam.

Needs money to come home from down range. During a year-long deployment, service members may be sent home for R&R. Their travel arrangements are made and paid for by the government. If they ask for money, it is a scam.

Commanding officer calls. Commanding officers in the United States military do not call girlfriends, fiancées or family members asking for money. If they ask for money, this is a scam.

Can’t get internet, food or travel money. Service members do not have to pay for internet connections, food or travel expenses etc. while deployed. Even if a service member misses a connecting flight, the military takes care of this. If someone you met online claims to be stranded in an airport, do not send them money. If they ask for money, this is a scam.

Claim to be Special Forces. Liars love to claim they are in Delta Force, Army Rangers, Navy Seals or Special Ops. If these individuals really were in special ops, they would never tell you -- never. If they ask for money, this is a scam.

Deployed for three years. Military members can be sent on an unaccompanied tour for a year or two. Deployments in the past have lasted up to fifteen months. Claiming to be deployed for three years is a play for your pity. If they ask for money, this is a scam.

Your family and friends think you are crazy. If your family and friends think this is a scam, it is. These people know you and they are not blinded by love. They know if someone asks you for money, it is a scam.

You suspect this isn’t for real. If you think this person you are talking to online isn’t for real, you are probably right. Trust yourself and stop communicating now before he asks you for money.

Women, please stop being so naïve and gullible. One woman wrote me and said she had given more than $20,000 to a man who is supposedly a service member. Afterward, she was a victim of bank fraud and her home was vandalized.

The man she was communicating with knew all of her personal information, including where she lived. This is serious because this woman put her life in jeopardy! She quickly moved to a different location.

The bottom line is that if you are communicating with a "service member" who starts asking you for money, don’t pass go. Stop communicating with him immediately. He may have stolen the identity of someone real.

These scammers are professionals who know just how to tug your heartstrings. The people behind military dating scams do not give up easily. Block their emails, their Facebook posts, their texts, their phone calls.

So what can you do about a scammer? Unforutnately, there isn't much you can do. Scammers are frequently located overseas, limiting prosecution options U.S. officials have.

If you feel you have been scammed by a person claiming to be in the U.S. military, your best bet is to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Spending your money -- and more importantly the hours of your life -- on a scam artist is not bringing you closer to love. Mark your involvement with a scammer as a mistake and keep a sharp eye out the next time.


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