USASOC: Fully Engaged in the Global War on Terrorism

By Kensinger, Philip R., Jr. | Army, October 2004 | Go to article overview
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USASOC: Fully Engaged in the Global War on Terrorism


Kensinger, Philip R., Jr., Army


With an end strength of slightly more than 26,000 personnel, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is one of the smallest major Army commands. Belying USASOCs assigned strength, however, is the large footprint that Army special operations forces have left on every operation since 9/11 in support of the global war on terrorism, especially over the past year.

As demonstrated in combat operations during this time, USASOC soldiers are trained and equipped to fight secretive and hidden enemy forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe.

In 2003, during the largest deployment in the history of Army special operations forces, this command balanced intense combat operations with the difficult mission of planning for the training and equipping of the future USASOC force.

Now, in 2004, we remain heavily engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan and countries throughout the world-yet because of this command's vision and adaptability, we have enjoyed unprecedented mission successes.

It is our continued commitment to soldiers that will enable us to harness their unrelenting determination to prosecute the global war on terrorism as USASOC continues its Transformation into a more deployable and lethal force.

USASOC has continued to orchestrate the largest deployment of Army special operations forces in the history of the command. Of particular note was the deployment of more than 100 Special Forces operational detachments to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), which exceeded the number deployed into Vietnam during the height of hostilities there.

The global war on terrorism requires a near-total commitment of Army special operations forces to accomplish the many and varied missions not only in the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) theater of operations, but in dozens of other spots around the world.

Remarkably, while managing the priority mission of supporting USCENTCOM and Special Operations Command Central, USASOC maintained extensive support to operations in the Philippines, Colombia, Haiti and other countries around the world.

In Afghanistan, where the operational tempo remains high, two Special Forces battalions are engaged in combat operations against anticoalition forces. Tactical psychological operations (PSYOPs) companies provide support by disseminating PSYOP products in remote areas. Regular rotations of assets from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne) provide the lift support dictated by operations in the high-altitude conditions of Afghanistan. One civil affairs brigade provides humanitarian and civil assistance to the transitional Afghan national government, and its establishment of new provisional reconstruction teams is a major step in the process.

A similar commitment of USASOC forces is present in Iraq. In the rebuilding of Iraq's post-war infrastructure, Army special operations forces (ARSOF) are performing their doctrinal missions throughout the country. Special Forces units, working in conjunction with the special operations aviation assets, continue to focus on high-value targets and key personnel to ultimately reduce the threat to coalition forces operating there. A civil affairs command and two civil affairs brigades are now operating in Iraq to provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance and to help pave the way for the transition to a self-governing Iraq. Psychological operations soldiers also are playing a key role in the production and dissemination of media products that are an essential link in communication with the Iraqi populace. In fact, from the onset of the global war on terrorism, these information warriors have been heavily engaged with the production, distribution and dissemination of a wide variety of operation-related PSYOP products. During Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, PSYOP forces produced more than 170 million leaflets and thousands of hours of television and radio broadcasts.

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