JOINT SPECIAL FORCES AND UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE
COL PK MALLICK
“Today we see a bewildering diversity of separatist wars, ethnic and religious violence, coups d’état, border disputes, civil upheavals, and terrorist attacks, pushing waves of poverty-stricken, war-ridden immigrants (and hordes of drug traffickers as well) across national boundaries. In the increasingly wired global economy, many of these seemingly small conflicts trigger strong secondary effects in surrounding (and even distant) countries. Thus a “many small wars” scenario is compelling military planners in many armies to look afresh at what they call “special operations” or “special forces” — the niche warriors of tomorrow.” Alvin and Heidi Toffler War and Anti-War, Survival at the Dawn of the 21st Century
Special operations (SO) are operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These operations often require covert, clandestine, or discreet capabilities. Special operations are applicable across the range of military operations. They can be conducted independently or in conjunction with operations of
2 conventional forces or other government agencies and may include operations by, with, or through indigenous or surrogate forces. Political-military considerations frequently shape special operations, requiring clandestine, covert, or low-visibility techniques and oversight at the national level. Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets. Special Operation Forces (SOF) are more than just what they do. SOF are comprised of specially selected, trained, and organized special operations soldiers, sailors, and airmen from the Armed Services. Their training, education, maturity, initiative, and experience set them apart from all others. SOF personnel form the core of our nation’s ability to combat terrorism and conduct unconventional warfare. Despite their demonstrated capability and successes SOF face significant challenges in the years ahead. SOF must develop capabilities to defend the country from terrorism and other threats wherever they occur, as well as prepare to meet the uncertain challenges of the future. Transforming the force from one designed to combat specific threats to one with capabilities that can address a broad range of contingencies will not be easy, but it must be done. They must be prepared to wage war “everywhere, all the time.”
In India we have different types of Special Forces (SF) each having their own tasks, organization, equipment, training and command and control arrangements. Even the controlling ministries are different in some cases. We are using Special Forces more and more frequently. Situations like Maldives, hijacking of Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandahar, Akshardam temple, attack on parliament, eliminating terrorist camps in Pakistan/Bangladesh/Mayanmar with or without permission of respective countries are definite probabilities. Recent terrorists actions by Chechan rebels in Moscow and Beslan are pointers to things we should anticipate and prepare for. The army has Para Commandos and Special Forces battalions and the Parachute Regiment units, the navy has Marine Naval Commandos (MARCOS), The National Security Guards, a federal contingency force not to be clubbed with CPOs or PMFs directly under cabinet and Special Frontier Force and VIKAS units under cabinet secretariat. All these forces
3 have overlapping responsibilities, different ethos, fierce pride in their outfits, dissimilar training and are controlled by different agencies. There is an imperative need to evolve a philosophy for tasking, equipping, and training of Joint Special Forces in the interest of optimal utilization and enhancement of operational efficiency as all types of war, be it conventional or unconventional , has to be fought jointly.
“When the hour of crisis comes, remember the forty selected men can shake the world” Yasotay Mongolian Warlord One of the earliest recorded examples of a conventional army beset by difficulties imposed by bands of special purpose forces was during Alexander the Great’s march through Afghanistan on his way to India. Ancestors of today’s Mujahideen harried his rear from horseback, while others attacked him from the heights. Alexander countered by employing many of the same counter SF principles that hold true today—the employment of specially skilled, mobile light infantrymen. Alexander recruited and trained volunteer troops with mountain climbing experience who scaled the mountain peaks at night to surprise and defeat those irregular forces. Further, Alexander recruited the defeated irregulars and added them to his army, frequently to be used against the next irregulars encountered. The need for commandos was seen early in World War II, first by the German and British. The United States formed six battalions of U S Army Rangers as well as
4 additional battalions of Marine Raids, Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and such units as Merrill’s Marauders in the Far East. The Germans formed their Brandenburg Regiment and the British formed several different commando units: the Special Air Services (SAS), Special Boat Squadron (SBS), Long Desert Petrol, and so on. Wingate’s Chindits operations in Burma campaign is part of the folklore. However everybody was not convinced about the pay off of such operations. In Defeat into Victory, Field Marshall Sir William J. Slim concluded that most special units are wasteful and have more disadvantages than advantages. He believed there was one type of special unit that should become an essential component of any modern army. This special unit is one that operates deep behind enemy lines, whose purpose is to disrupt the enemy, to collect information, to work with indigenous people, to sabotage enemy installations, to assassinate enemy commanders. The troops who made up this unit would require many qualities and skills not expected in the ordinary soldier and would use many methods beyond his capacity. Field Marshal Slim felt they could achieve strategic results if handled with imaginative ruthlessness.
India first formed a commando force, composed largely of Tibetan exiles, after getting the worst of it in a 1962 border war with China. As relations improved with China over the years, the “Special Frontier Force”(SFF) switched from its original mission of stirring up guerilla operations inside China, to counter-terrorism. Size (about 10,000 troops) and organization (six battalions, each of six 123 man companies plus a headquarters) of the units has not changed much in 40 years. Training is still rigorous, but there are fewer Tibetans in the unit now. There is also a para –commando battalion, used as a quick reaction force. A small (about a hundred men) National Security Guards force is organized and trained to deal with hostage situations. A very competent outfit. There are 1200 Marine Commandos, who sought assistance from British Royal Marine Commandos and U.S. SEALS to set up their training program. [ Courtesy www.strategyPage.com ]
5 During the 1965 Indo-Pak War, an ad hoc commando unit comprised of volunteers from various infantry regiments was organized by Lieutenant Colonel Megh Singh of the Brigade of the Guards. The unit was nicknamed, Meghdoot Force, and performed well in combat. Thus in June 1966, the Government authorised the Parachute Regiment to form a permanent commando unit. Known as the 9th Battalion, it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Megh Singh and he used members from the Meghdoot Force as its backbone. In June 1967 elements of the 9th Battalion, were taken to form a second commando unit, designated as 10th Battalion, at Gwalior. In 1969, these battalions were renamed as the 9 and 10 Para Commando battalions. Para Commandos had their first taste of combat in the 1971 Indo-Pak War where they performed gallantly. The Nine Para Commando saw action through a daring raid on a Pakistani gun position at Mandhol. This raid resulted in the destruction of six 122mm guns belonging to the Pakistan Army's 172 Independent Battery. Apart from the destruction of guns, ammunition and other vital equipment, the Pakistanis suffered 37 killed, 41 wounded and a great loss of face. This raid won the Nine Para Commando the Battle Honour of Mandhol. The 10 Para Commando was baptised in combat with successful raids on enemy posts at Chachro and Virawah, under Maharaja Bhawani Singh who won a Maha Vir Chakra for these daring raids. The late 1980s saw the Para Commandos in action in Sri Lanka. However, lack of proper planning by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) and insufficient intelligence on the LTTE's whereabouts, led the initial heli-borne assault on 11 October 1987 to be a tragic failure. Six Para Commandos lost their lives in that illfated mission. With the capture of Maldives, an island-nation of the coast of south-western India on 03 November 1988 by PLOTE mercenaries, the Para Commandos were once again called into action. 10 Para Commando along with the 6 Para flew in on 04 November 1988 in a fleet of IL-76s, An-32s and An-12 transport aircrafts. Later that morning, Mi-8 helicopters were used to fly the 10 Para Commando to the outlying islands to search for escaping mercenaries. Operation Cactus, as it was called, was successful and ended without any loss of life for 10 Para Commando the other Indian troops.
6 Since the mid-90s the role of Para Commandos as a counter terrorist force has increased substantially. [Courtesy www.bharat-rakshak.com ]
OVERVIEW OF JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” ---Theodore Roosevelt (Paris Sorbonne, 1910)
Special Operations are defined as operations conducted by specially trained, equipped and organised forces against strategic or tactical targets in pursuit of national military, political, economic or psychological objectives. These operations may be conducted during periods of peace or hostilities. They may support conventional operations, or they may be undertaken independently when the use of conventional forces is either inappropriate or infeasible. In this regard it is worth pointing out that special operations, usually carried out by specially formed units or teams are tactical military operations, very often with the aim of achieving a disproportionate strategic outcome of a campaign.
SOF Attributes. Seven attributes describe what SOF will need to develop, preserve
or enhance in order to fulfill the SOF vision and mission of the future .They are :-
7 Precision Strike and Effects. Tailored and Integrated Operations. Ubiquitous Access. Regional Expertise, Presence and Influence. C4ISR Dominance. Decision Support. Communications / Data Exchange. Disruption and Denial. Agile and Unconventional Logistics. Force Protection and Survivability.
Enduring Truths . Four truths remain the cornerstone shaping the development of
special operations capabilities: Humans are more important than hardware. The special operations soldier,
sailor, or airman is the most critical component of any special operations capability. Quality is better than quantity. A small number of people, carefully selected, whom
well trained, and well led, are preferable to larger numbers of troops, some of may not be up to the task.
SOF cannot be mass-produced. There is no easy formula for creating special operations personnel. Experience - a key element of special operations capability - can only be produced over time.
Competent SOF cannot be created after emergencies occur. Time is perhaps the
most critical element involved in the creation of competent SOF: time to select, assess, train and educate personnel; and time to gain the experience necessary to perform operations with a reasonable assurance of success. Since competent forces cannot be created instantly, decision-makers must plan ahead to create forces that are sufficient in size, capability and speed of response.
Operational Mission Criteria. The employment of SOF in support of the joint
force campaign or operation plan is facilitated by five basic criteria. These criteria provide guidelines for both conventional and SOF commanders and planners to use when considering the employment of SOF.The criterias are : Is this an appropriate SOF mission? Does the mission support the overall joint campaign or operation plan? Is the mission operationally feasible?
Are required resources available to execute the mission? Does the expected outcome of the mission justify the risk?
Characteristics of Special Operations. The various characteristics of Special
Operation are:• Special Operations normally require operator-level planning and detailed intelligence. • Knowledge of the culture(s) and languages of the geographical area in which the mission is to be conducted. • Rigorous training and rehearsals of the mission are integral to the success of the mission. • They are often conducted at great distances from the supporting operational bases. • • They may employ sophisticated communications systems. They frequently require discriminate and precise use of force. This often requires development, acquisition, and employment of equipment not standard for other forces. • They employ sophisticated means of insertion, support, and extraction to penetrate and successfully return from hostile denied, or politically sensitive areas.
Characteristics of Special Operations Forces (SOF)
SOF are unique because they provide the government a broad range of capabilities. The demands of SO require forces with attributes that distinguish them from conventional forces :• SOF personnel undergo careful selection processes or mission-specific training beyond basic military skills. These programs make unlikely any rapid replacement or generation of personnel or capabilities. • SOF personnel maintain a high level of competency in more than one military specialty. Selected SOF are regionally oriented for employment; cross cultural communications skills are a routine part of training. (Under most circumstances, SOF are not a substitute for conventional forces, but a necessary adjunct to existing conventional capabilities.) • SOF operations are frequently clandestine in nature to ensure mission success. Much of the equipment used by SOF has been designed or modified to meet specific operational requirements. As such, SOF equipment is often delivered in small quantities and is difficult and costly to repair and replace. • SOF maintain a very high level of pre-conflict readiness, and are often the first echelon of any commitment of Forces. This emphasized the importance of joint, collective training tailored to achieve and maintain mission capabilities.
SOF Capabilities. SOF can be formed into versatile, self-contained teams that
provide a force commander with an extremely flexible force capable of operating in ambiguous and swiftly changing scenarios. They can : Be task-organized quickly and deployed rapidly to provide tailored responses to many different situations. Gain access to hostile or denied areas.
10 Provide limited medical support for themselves and those they support. Communicate worldwide with organic equipment. Conduct operations in austere, harsh environments without extensive support. Survey and assess local situations and report these assessments rapidly. Work closely with regional military and civilian authorities and populations. Organize people into working teams to help solve local problems. Deploy with a generally lower profile and less intrusive presence than larger conventional forces. Provide unconventional options for addressing ambiguous situations.
SOF Limitations. Improper employment of SOF could result in the depletion of
forces. SOF require a long lead-time to be effectively fielded. SOF cannot be quickly replaced/reconstituted nor can their capabilities be rapidly expanded. Improper employment rapidly. resources. SOF are not a substitute for conventional forces. In most cases SOF are neither trained nor equipped to conduct sustained conventional combat operations, and therefore should not be substituted for conventional units that are able to effectively execute that mission. SOF logistic support is austere. A large number of SOF units generally cannot maintain themselves for extended periods of time without significant support from a conventional support structure. Furthermore, in the cases were SF’s have been used as counter-terrorist forces, a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy has often been used (the SAS in Northern Ireland is a good example of this). In addition to potentially criminalise a soldier, that is a policy that of own resources in purely conventional roles or on inappropriate/inordinately high-risk missions runs the risk of depleting these resources SOF should normally be employed against targets with strategic or operational relevance. Such employment is congruent with the use of limited SOF
11 could also undermine government’s claim as upholder of law and order, something that in the long run can affect society adversely. These two contrasting positions are not mutually exclusive. Rather, it is important to bear this dichotomy in mind when looking at the role of SF.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS PRINCIPAL MISSIONS
First break down the wall that has more or less come between special operations forces and the other parts of the military……second, educate the best of the military; spread a recognition and an understanding what you do, why you do it, and how important it is that you do it. Last integrate your effects into the full spectrum of our military capacity. Admiral William J Crowe, Jr Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, USA
Nine activities have been designated as Special Operations Principal Missions. These are: Direct Action (DA), Combating Terrorism (CBT), Foreign Internal Defense (FID), Unconventional Warfare (UW), Special Reconnaissance (SR), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), Civil Affairs (CA), Information Operations (IO), and Counter Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (CP). SOF are organized, trained, and equipped specifically to accomplish these nine tasks. In our context Unconventional Warfare and Combating Terrorism takes overriding importance for SOF.
Counter-Terrorism . The newest, and perhaps most dramatic, area of SF activity
is counter-terrorism. It is also one of the most controversial. Three basic tasks are involved here; surveillance [of terrorists], interdiction and arrests (which also could include killings) and rescuing of hostages. SOF’s today are among the most engaged in operations worldwide.
Unconventional Warfare (UW)
Unconventional Warfare (UW) was the mission for which Special Forces was founded. While since that time its employment has been limited and largely surrogate, it remains a large part of the essence of Special Forces, having major and important identity, psychological and training impacts. While other organizations may, at different locations and levels of effort, have roles within the board boundaries of Special Forces’ other operational missions, UW remains uniquely Special Forces. It is the soul of Special Forces: the willingness to accept its isolation and hardships defines the Special Forces soldier. Its training is both the keystone and standard of Special Forces Training: it has long been an article of faith, confirmed in over forty years of worldwide operations, that “If you can do the UW missions, you can do all others.” The objective of UW and Special Forces’ dedication to it is expressed in Special Forces’ motto: De Oppresso Liber. Robert M. Gates, Remarks at dedication of OSS Memorial.
UW includes guerrilla warfare, subversion, sabotage, intelligence activities, evasion and escape, and other activities of a low visibility, covert, or clandestine nature. When UW is conducted independently during conflict or war, its primary focus is on political and psychological objectives. When UW operations support conventional military operations, the focus shifts to primarily military objectives.
UW Doctrine. The Special Forces must address the following in its doctrine for
Unconventional Warfare: Intelligence activities must be given maximum importance with an
emphasis on HUMINT collection in a Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) environment.
13 Employment of subversion and sabotage. Support to insurgencies. Guerilla Warfare aspects including weaponization technological
developments. It will continue to have some relevance for some time to come.
Long duration. Little or no logical support. Usually exposed to harsher environment conditions and
physically demanding. Operation conducted in hostile area. Constantly working/living with indigenous populace, operations
conducted “by with and through indigenous personnel”. Greater ambiguity, flexibility is paramount. Influenced felt from several external sources. No “cookie cutter” panacea. Necessity for sensitivity to the indigenous cultural. Cross cultural communication and language skills are essential. Higher level of independent action and decision making. Multi-dimensional battlefields call for a multi-framed &
mentally flexible thinker. High level of risk for personal physical harm.
Trend is that in conventional war, victory depends on defeating the enemy’s armed forces in battle while in UW, it tends to depend less on victory on the battlefield, and more on disabling the enemy’s operational system and depriving him of popular support. This is
14 perhaps most clearly and poignantly illustrated in the now famous conversation between Harry Summers and a North Vietnamese counterpart:
“You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,” said the American Colonel.
The North Vietnamese Colonel pondered this remark a moment. “That may be so,” he replied “but it is also irrelevant”. That UW requires a more indirect solution than conventional conflicts is almost universally reflected in all the literature available. Andrew Krepinevich, in discussing guerrilla warfare as it pertains to insurgency, states: “In conventional wars, strategy prescribes the conquest of the enemy’s territory, yet this seldom occurs prior to the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces in battle. These rules do not apply, however, against an enemy who refuses to fight for territory. In an insurgency, the way to destroy the insurgent is to attack him at the source of his strength: the population”.
COMMAND AND CONTROL OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES
“In broad terms, fourth generation warfare seems dispersed and largely undefined; the distinction between war and peace will be blurred to the vanishing point. It will be nonlinear, possibly to the point of having no definable battlefields or fronts. The distinction between “civilian” and “military” may disappear. Actions will occur concurrently throughout all participants’ depth, including their society as a cultural, not just a physical, entity. Major military facilities, such as airfields, fixed communications sites, and large headquarters will become rarities because of their
15 vulnerability; the same may be true of civilian equivalents, such as seats of government, power plants, and industrial sites (including knowledge as well as manufacturing industries). Success will depend heavily on effectiveness in joint operations as lines between responsibility and mission become very blurred.” William S. Lind, et al The Changing Face of War Into the Fourth Generation, 1989 Special Operations Forces are often tasked by political leaders and monitored at the national level. These operations cross all services and need detailed planning and rapid coordination with other commands, services, and governments agencies. Because of the nature of the missions, joint ground, air, and maritime assets must communicate quickly and efficiently. Therefore, a common, responsive command and control network is needed that interconnects the various commands, and government agencies. In all cases, commanders exercising command authority over SOF should:• • • Provide for a clear and unambiguous chain of command. Avoid frequent transfer of SOF between commanders. Provide for sufficient staff experience and expertise to plan, conduct, and
support the operations. • • Integrate SOF in the planning process. Match unit capabilities with mission requirements.
Given the sensitivity and significance of their mission, Special Operations Forces chains of command are understandably abbreviated. SOF needs a clear and unambiguous Command & Control (C2) structure. Unnecessary layering of headquarters decreases responsiveness and compromises security. The mission, duration and scope of operations, security consideration, signals capabilities and the desired degree of control over special operations determine SOF command relationship. SOF commanders must be familiar with dealing with joint organizations and other services as well as our organization of national security like Cabinet
16 Committee of Security, National Crisis Management Committee and Ministry of Home Affairs. SOF are most effective when SO are fully integrated into the overall plan (war or MOOTW). Successful execution of SO requires clear, responsive Command and Control (C2) by an appropriate SOF C2 element. The limited window of opportunity normally associated with the majority of SOF missions, as well as the sensitive nature of many of these missions, requires a C2 structure that is, above all, responsive to the needs of the operational unit. SOF C2 may be tailored for a specific mission or operation. Liaison between all components of the joint force and SOF, wherever assigned, is vital for effective employment of SOF as well as the prevention of fratricide. In recent times the international terrorists, guerrillas insurgents, drug smuggling cartels, ethnic factions as well an racial and tribal gangs – are all organized like networks. Although their leadership may be hierarchical. These organizations are innovative, flexible, exhibit shared goal, focus on core competencies and are difficult to counter. Perhaps the reason that military institutions are having difficulty in Low Intensity Conflicts is because they are not meant to be fought by institutions. The lesson is – institution can he defeated by networks. It may take networks to counter networks. One of the reasons why Special Forces are remarkably successful in operations in LICO is that their organization has eliminated numbers of layers and is in the lines of networked organization.
Special Operation Force Structure
A model of the Special Forces organization of the US Armed Forces may be looked at. United States special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was established as a unified combatant command and commanded by a four star General. All SOF of the Army, Navy and air force based in the United States are placed under him. organizational tree of USSOCOM is given at Appendix “A”. Each of the theater Unified geographical commands have established a separate Special Operations Command (SOC) to meet its theater specific operation The
17 requirement. Theater SOC normally exercises operational control of SOF within each geographic commander in chief’s area of responsibility.
“Our nation needs SFs, which are not merely better infantry or naval or air units, but are structured comprehensively for as full spectrum capability, trained and ready for victory, or, in other words – a total force of quality officers and soldiers, Like any other country, India must decide the right type, quantity and quality of the SF it wants, after conducting an in depth study relating to the likely threats to nation, how they are to be tackled, the changing nature of war and conflict, impact of technology, the likely roles for the SF and other operational requirements for them. As the SFs expand, the specialized troops are likely to be confronted by several challenges. They would have to learn to integrate seamlessly with conventional forces, civil authorities and even international agencies.” Said Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister while inaugurating a seminar on Special Forces organized by Centre for Land Warfare Studies(CLAWS). Present Special Forces assets and their C2 arrangements are as under :• • • • • • Para SF units under respective commands. Para Brigade for out of area contingencies under Army HQ. NSG under MHA. 4 VIKAS (special group) under cabinet secretariat. Provides muscle to RAW. Aviation Research Cell and SFF under cabinet secretariat. MARCOS under Navy.
Drawbacks of present system are:• • • • Org not conducive to conduct strategic special operations. Compartmentalised functioning. No coordination of intelligence & resources at the highest level. Intelligence void. Lack of jointmanship.
18 • • • • • • • Special operations are being conducted at theatre level & are personality based. Continued commitment in CI ops. Manning & equipment profile of units are different. Outdated technology Lack of fast track equipment procurement process. Non incorporation of SOF commanders in planning process. Non availability of dedicated Special Air Transportation Squadron.
A re-organisation of Indian Armed Forces based on recommendations of Group of Ministers Report after the Kargil Conflict has started. However, except Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) there is no unified geographical Command. The Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CIDS) to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) has been appointed and HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has been created. The Operation Branch of HQ IDS looks after Out of Area Contingences (OOAC), Disaster Management, C4I2 and nuclear issues. IDS have also branches looking after joint training, joint doctrine and intelligence. In fact various service intelligence directorates are being coordinated by DG, Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) who also functions as Deputy Chief of Integreted Defence Staff (DCIDS), Intelligence. Since the strength of Special Forces under Army, Navy and NSG are not balanced and there is no unified command except ANC, establishment of a Special Forces Command is not recommended. However a Special Operations Force branch may be raised with Operations branch of CIDS. A suggested joint SOF organization is given at Appendix B. Since SF operations are planned and cleared at the highest level it would be prudent to place all Joint Operations Forces under CIDS. Though individual characteristics and eliteness specific to each type of forces would not be interfered, however, integration of all the services, intelligence, interaction with MOD or CCS would be easier. In case of Disaster Management CIDS is now co-coordinating all the activities as an
19 institutional mechanism is in place now. coordinated by CIDS. Since all future operations are going to be joint, Special Operation Forces branch of CIDS may be responsible for the following: Readiness of assigned forces and monitoring the readiness of SOF. Monitoring the professional development of all SOF personnel. Developing joint SOF tactics, techniques, and procedures. Conducting specialized courses of instruction. Training assigned forces. Executing its own program and budget. Conducting research, development, and acquisition of Special Operations Similarly SF operations also can be
peculiar items. Fast track equipment procurement. Formalise command & control setup for all SF assets. Dedicated air assets for special ops. Intelligence to be coordinated and made available at the highest level for spec ops.
Air Force. Indian Air Force does not have Special Forces per se, however, it has the
most important role in transportation or insertion of Special Forces, Search and Rescue mission, Fire Support, reconnaissance, intelligence and host of other activities. Earmarking of resources, close integration between components of other SOFs and air crews are must before undertaking any Special Missions as time would be of paramount importance. Our inability to block hijacked Indian airlines aircraft at Raja Sansi Airport in Amritsar is an example of how important is the time factor.
20 We are preparing for the war we want to fight…not for the conflicts we cannot avoid..avoid.” No matter how hard we try to take our world with us, we will still find that we tsometimes must fight the enemy on his sground, by his rules. ground, by t -- Ralph Peters Ralph Peters Lessons learnt by SOF over the last two decades and demonstrated in Afghanistan and Iraq provide some signposts for future forces. The lessons are: Lesson One. You don’t know what you need until you need it. A wide range of capabilities in effective quantities is a good hedge against tomorrow’s threat. Lesson Two. Network-distributed may be more effective than network-centric warfare. The best way to speed up the observe, orient, decide, act (OODA) loop is to shorten it by getting it into the field. Lesson Three. Interoperability comes by interoperating regularly, routinely, and often. No royal road exists. Lesson Four. Existing forces are nothing more than tools to provide the commander with combat capability. This capability and the ability to employ it are what matters- not the specific tool. Lesson Five. The “tooth to tail” ratio may no longer be a relevant measure of merit because it draws an artificial distinction between integral elements of combat power. Lesson Six. Human beings are more important than hardware. The final lesson From the war in Afghanistan may be that the revolution in military affairs has already happened. The success of Perfect soldier in Afghanistan was due to the following new developments: Revolution in air war control. AWACs made Bombers to be over Afghanistan
24 hours a day, seven days a week.
21 Well trained commandos. Experience and battle tested Special Forces troops. Smarter Bombs. More accurate reconnaissance Drones, JSTARS. Satellite communications.
SOME IMPORTANT ASPECTS
“Don’t ever take a chance you don’t have to.” . Major Robert Rogers Standing Order #5, Rogers’ Rangers, 1759
Fourth Generation Warfare. It is based on the assumption that the nation-state
societies of the world will be violently challenged and eventually thrown into chaos. The fighting will not be limited to nation-state relationship, the opposing forces will be divided by race, religion or class. Fighting such a conflict could be barefoot peasants fighting for a better way of life to a religious extremists fighting for their God. They will be less organized and poorly equipped but may be more willing to die for their cause than the uniformed professional of a nation-state. The emergence of these loose-knit, lightly armed organizations with flexible and decentralized command and control call for a shift in tactics. Guerilla tactics may begin with targets of terror and not what we might define as legitimate military targets.
22 Attacks in fourth generation will be much more fluid, shifting across the spectrum of military, political, informational and economic operations. There seem to be some very distinct characteristics that we have not experienced in any recent wars or even in times before the nation state was identified as the sovereign entity. Some of these characteristics may have been present in historical examples, but taken together, they amount to a new breed of war, Fourth Generation Warfare, has the following characteristics:• Global (not just isolated or even regional) threat. • Loose-knit cellular organizations of self-generating action groups. • Strong religious, moral, and/or ethnic convictions on the part of action groups. • Vulnerable open-societies with even more vulnerable economic targets. • State sponsorship of or acquiescence to terrorist cells (funding, facilities, sanctuary). • Wide use of the media by groups to influence public opinion and obtain recruits. • Terror is the tool of choice. • Access to latest high-tech weaponry available on world market. Special Forces are the best organized, trained and equipped to fight this type of war. However, the strength of the Forces have to be increased substantially, including recruitment, training, organizing, equipping and keeping them constantly updated about any future roles.
Among the issues raised by the customary and conventional international law regulating war conduct, the following have been particularly important in wars requiring special operations: Denial of quarter and prisoner of war (POW) status and treatment.
23 things. law. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat. Forced movement of civilians. Use of chemical-biological weapons. Denial to internees and detainees of reasonable treatment and due process of Torture and mistreatment of POWs, collective punishment, taking of hostages,
terrorism, outrages against personal dignity, slavery, pillage, and threats to do these
In any clandestine operations out of the country if the operation fails and SOF personnel are caught more often than not government would deny knowledge of such operations. In such cases the welfares of next of kin of such SOF personnel must be ensured at all costs. The modalities can be worked out.
SOF MANDATES FOR THE FUTURE
On one hand, you have to shoot and kill somebody; On the other hand, you have to feed somebody. On the other hand, you have to build an economy, restructure the infrastructure, build the political system. And there's some poor lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier general down there, stuck in some province with all that saddled onto him, with NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] and political wannabes running around, with factions and a culture he doesn't understand. These are now culture wars that we're involved in. We don't understand that culture. Gen Tony Zinni, Forum 2003. 4 Sept 03 .
24 A rapidly changing world deals ruthlessly with organizations that do not change. Guided by a comprehensive, enduring vision and supporting goals, we must constantly reshape ourselves to remain relevant and useful members of the joint team. As the president of AT&T once said, "When the pace of change outside an organization becomes greater than the pace of change inside the organization, the end is near.” SOF must focus on emerging threats that either exceed the capabilities of conventional forces or can be dealt with better by small, highly specialized units. We must carefully assess those threats and, as appropriate, provide an effective solution through strategic planning, resourcing, acquisition and operational support initiatives. As important, we must identify those missions no longer relevant for SOF and recommend shifting these missions to our conventional forces in order to better focus resources on critical special operations activities. SOF must be a full-spectrum, multimission force -providing a comprehensive set of capabilities to the nation. This means that we must swiftly adapt to diverse and evolving threats from our neighboring countries and prepare for Out of Area Contingencies. We must continue to operate effectively in joint, combined and interagency environments, yet must transcend these traditional parameters to fuse all of our political, military, economic, intellectual, technical and cultural strengths into a comprehensive approach to future challenges. This will allow SOF to tap into such diverse areas as commercial information technologies, utilization of space, biomedicine, environmental science, robotics, organizational design and commercial research and development. We must also have the intellectual agility to conceptualize creative and useful solutions to ambiguous problems and provide a coherent set of choices to the supported commander or joint force commander. This means training and educating people how to think, not just what to think. SOF must examine every advantage our technological genius can supply and selectively exploit those few required for success. We must be quick to capitalize on emerging technologies with the potential for significantly enhancing the human dimension, especially low-observable/masking technologies, smarter weapons, long-range precision capability and information
25 technologies. Merging technology with the human dimension will improve the SOF warrior's survivability, lethality, mobility and ability to access and use all relevant information sources. We must also recognize that the benefits of technological change cannot be fully realized until they are incorporated into new organizational forms. SOF organizational innovation is as important as innovation in weapon systems. Replacing technology without replacing old structures will not work. Most importantly, we must remember that the purpose of technology is to equip the man, not simply to man the equipment. SOF people are at the heart of all special operations; platforms and equipment merely help them accomplish the mission. The fingers on our future triggers still must be controlled by willing warriors of courage, compassion and judgment -- individuals of character with strong legal, moral and ethical foundation -- organized into dynamic and agile joint SOF teams. As we move into the 21st century, we are evolving to meet future challenges. We have to lead this change by transitioning from a traditional military staff to an Information Age staff that is matrix-shaped around core functions, more flexible and better postured to resource and support global SOF requirements.
If you wish for peace, understand war—particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war. — Liddell Hart
Special operations forces are particularly suited for many emerging missions which flow from the National Security Strategy. Many of these missions require traditional SOF capabilities, while others, such as counter proliferation, information warfare and psychological warfare are relatively new and are the subject of developing SOF doctrine. In order to be as effective as possible, SOF face two major challenges: they must integrate—with conventional forces and other government agencies yet they must preserve the autonomy necessary to protect and encourage the unconventional
26 approach that is the soul of special operations. This flexibility will facilitate meeting the other major challenges of the future. SOF’s language capability, regional and cultural orientation will continue to make them a peacetime force of choice that is mature, discrete, low profile, and effective. Because of its low-cost/high-payback ratio, SOF will continue to be called upon as the nation seeks to promote stability and thwart aggression. Faced with an increasingly volatile world, and diminishing resources, SOF will provide access and promote stability with an affordable, yet effective, force for implementing national strategies. When national interests are faced with unpredictable threats, SOF will provide flexible and precise, lethal and non lethal options to the government. SOF will provide core competencies not available anywhere else in the military. Reorganisation and training of Special Forces units in Indian Army are rightfully drawing lot of attention including media. Recently in an article in Outlook Lieutenant General RK Nanavatty, a former Northern Army Commander had been quoted as saying “Our present Special Forces battalions arguably are the best type of infantry units of the Army. They are robust, motivated and well-led, but despite their title, they are not Special Forces and are not capable of special operations which are distinct from special missions, commando operations and specialised operations”. In the same article Lieutenant General Vijay Oberoi, a former Vice Chief of Army Staff has been quoted as saying, “Club all our so called Special Forces units – be it the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Security Guards and the Special Group – and we have more manpower than what the Americans have and yet we don’t have a tenth of their capabilities”. Like the special operations forces of yesteryear, today's special operators face unusual challenges. Our special operations forces must adjust to the nontraditional challenges we face today and, at the same time, help transform our combat capabilities and support structures to be able to shape the environment and respond effectively in the face of future challenges.
UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND (USSOCOM)
PRESIDENT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
CJCS SERVICE CHIEFS
U.S. PACIFIC COMMAND
U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND
U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND
U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
U.S. JOINT FORCES COMMAND
U.S. SPECIAL OPS COMMAND
U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND
U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND
APPEND IX - B
RECOMMENDED COMMAND AND CONTROL SYSTEM AT THE SERVICES LEVEL
Joint Special Operations Committee (CIDS)
Jt Secretary Cabinet Secretariat
Addl DG (Special Ops) Under DGMO
Joint Director (Special Air Ops) Under ACAS (Ops)
Deputy Director Naval Special Ops Under DNO
* Special Operation Cell at every operational Command HQs incl ANC .Cell to be established in all geographical Commands of Army, Navy and AF.
1. James F Dunnigan, The Perfect Soldier, Citadel Press, NY 10022, 2003. 2. John M Collins, Special Operation Forces, An Assessment, National Defense University Press, Washington DC, October, 1996. 3. Col John Jogerset, What’s so Special About Special Operation? Lesson from the War in Afghanistan, Aerospace Power Journal, Summer 2002. 4. Joint Publication 3-05, Doctrine for Joint Special Operations,
30 5. Joint Publication 3-05.1, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedure for Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations, 19 December 2001, U.S.A. 6. 7. Joint Publication 3-53, Doctrine for Psychological Operations. U.S. Army Doctrine for Special Operations Forces, Field Manual
FM 100-25. 8. United States Special Operations Forces Posture Statement,
2003-2004. 9. 10. Special Operations Forces Performance Manual, January, 1998. HQ Integrated Defence Staff, Report on the First Year Existence
by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chief of Staff Committee, available at www. ids.nic.in/research.htm. 11. Charles J Dunlop Jr, Special Operations Forces after Kosovo,
Joint Force Quarterly, Spring/Summer 2001 12. Wayne A Downing, Joint Special Operations in Peace and War,
Joint Force Quarterly, Summer 1996. 13. John M Collins, Special Operations Forces in Peace time, Joint Force Quarterly, Spring 1999. 14. Pranab Assures Funds for Special Forces Modernisation, The Hindu, New Delhi, 30 November 2004. 15. Saikat Datta, Special Forces Circus, Outlook, 8 November 04, pp24-25. 16. Stephen Biddle, Special forces and the Future of War, Strategic Studies institute, US Army War College, 24 May 2004.
BRIEF OF BIO DATA. A graduate of Electronics and Tele Communication Engineering from Bengal Engineering College. Shibpur Col P K Mallick was commissioned in the Corps of
31 Signals. The officer has served in almost all types of signal units and has varied
experience in LICO Ops in Punjab, Assam and the Valley. The officer has done M Tech from IIT, Kharagpur and is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He was DAQMG of a division in Valley. He has been instructor Class A at MCTE, Mhow. The officer commanded an Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment (AREN) in OP VIJAY and OP PARAKRAM in Western Command. After attending Long Defence Management Course at College of Defence Management, Secunderabad he is now posted at Headquarters Eastern Command. A winner of COAS Gold Medal Essay Competition, the officer contributes regularly in service related journals.