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TRAINING THE 21st CENTURY SPECIAL FORCES WARRIOR

A HISTORICAL COMPARISON OF TRAINING METHODOLOGY USED IN SPECIAL OPERATIONS QUALIFICATION COURSES

Background

A lot of talk about preparing for todays battlefield:


asymmetric threats; morally ambiguous situations; no more linearthinkers; SF the cross-cultural warrior

Cold war training paradigms still prevail in large part


Focus is on a collection of tasks Little time spent on our code of ethics, our morality, our character

SF candidates are deploying into combat in as little as a week


Time is not a luxury we have anymore No time to allow for a natural aging process

SECDEF announced his intent to have more SF


750 ramp-up SFQC turns more than 800 last year

Introduction

Define the problem:


No endstate for the SF warrior graduating from the SFQC People failing because of character flaws not because of academics Reluctance to define mission exacerbates the problem Demand for SF soldiers will not go down in the near future

So what?
No endstate means flexible standard and flexible content Flexible standards produce inconsistent results Selective application of standard means a weaker force

Research Questions

Is the SFQC training character and the critical skill sets necessary to enable todays SF soldier to dominate on the battlefield?
What personal qualities of character have made the common special forces soldier successful on the battlefield? Can and should special forces soldiers be trained with respect to these qualities, or must training be limited to the mastery of selected tasks? What skill sets should be trained, who determines them, and why? Should the end state be continually adjusted in order accommodate the quality and/or culture of a candidate, or should he be required to adopt the traditional US SF culture?

Delimitations
Not

an analysis of SFAS, though it is linked Not a detailed history of our enemy Not a debate on the conduct or merits of just wars.

Chapter 2 Literary Review

Patterns:

Sufficient information is available to determine a range of common successful character attributes. Details of training regimens, who designed them and why are ample

Gaps:

Not much information on the actual training of character as it relates to soldiers The assessment of character or judgment of the worth of a man remains subjective

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

Historical Analysis:
Character, ethics and the SOE OSS selection and training SF selection and training in 1952, 54 Exploration of ancient warrior cultures codes Research of Donovan, Banks

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

Operational Analysis:
OSS success Case Studies on successful and unsuccessful Special Ops and the training of the men involved Analysis of SFs history over the last 20 years

Enemy Analysis:
Trinquier, Kaplan, Friedman, Oneil

Chapter 4 Analysis
Units tended to select for character and train skill sets The quintessential SF guy Units tend to initially select from the good ol boy network, then transition to a more formal process

Chapter 5 Recommendations
Publish a relevant end state for the SFQC Determine the level of mastery for each critical capability and the allocation of time for each