Do You Know Who Special Operations Forces Are & What They Do? Post 1
With the release of No Easy Day, the public is once again fascinated by the world of Special Operations, yet most people have little clue who these people are, what they do, and where they came from. Every other day, for the rest of this month, I will be posting a blog on Special Operations Forces, based on my newly published book: Who Dares Wins: Special Operations Strategies for Success.
First, there is a difference between Special Operations Forces and Special Forces (SF). The latter are the US Army elite forces, more commonly known as the Green Berets. They are part of the United States military umbrella of Special Operations Forces (SOF). The SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) are also part of that, but out of the Navy. Task Force 160—the Nightstalkers—are also part of that. TF-160 is a helicopter unit trained to fly the toughest mission, usually at night and under limited visibility. There are other units so let’s get specific about USSOCOM: United States Special Operations Command.
There are slightly less than 60,000 personnel serving in USSOCOM. Each service has a SOCOM—ie an Army Special Ops Command, Navy, Marine and Air Force.
Under the Army SOCOM are:
Special Forces. I’ll go into more detail about my former unit in another post.
The Ranger Regiment. The most elite light infantry in the world.
Task Force 160
Civil Affairs Brigade
And the US Army JF Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School at Fort Bragg where I spent many a year.
Under the Navy SOCOM are:
SEALs—more on them and their history on Tuesday
SEAL Delivery vehicle teams and Special Warfare Combatant Craft crewmen.
Under the Air Force SOCOM are:
A whole bunch of units flying an array of difference aircraft, requiring another post specifically dedicated to them.
And finally, but not least, the Marines have finally formed a Marine Special Operations Regiment. Which is interesting, because very Marine I’ve ever met felt the entire Marine Corps is special.
Here’s the thing: these units are ELITE. This is a word that has gotten a negative connotation in society lately, but screw that: that’s who and what they are. I still remember standing in formation at Ft. Devens with my team, among the other 14 A-Teams in the 2d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the Battalion Sergeant Major was screaming about something or another, and he yelled: “What do you guys think you are? Special?”
And we all kind of looked at each other and nodded. Hell, yeah.
If everyone were elite, then there would be no elite. I believe the elite are the top five percent at most (if you think less than 60,000 people, including a good percentage of support personnel out of the entire military, it’s less than that). Why did I settle on that that number? Because studies have shown that only five percent of people are capable of sustained change. I will cover this in detail further on when we discuss change under character. Yes, certainly some people are born with unique gifts and talents, but the elite, as we will discuss them in this blog and in my book, are the people who make a decision to take the road less traveled and stay the course.
One of the most difficult aspects of living a successful life and being elite is that often you must go against the norm and the mass of other people’s opinions about the way you should live. There is a strong power in society trying to pull you into the ninety-five percent of people who live in fear and with mediocrity. My book shows you ways to go against the norm successfully and with minimum external conflict.
For an organization to be elite, first the people inside of it must be elite. Elite individuals and organizations must have excellent goal-setting, leadership, training and communications. As my book progresses I move from elite individuals to the elements of team building which make elite organizations.
Next up on Tuesday, to coincide with the official pub date of No Easy Day: Why the SEALs were formed.