The Evolution of Special Forces in Counter-Terrorism: The British and American Experiences

Synopsis

The threat of terrorism knows no borders, and, given the complexities of today's global system, no nation can afford to stand alone. This study considers the role that international cooperation plays in assisting elite military forces engaged in low intensity and counter-terrorist operations, particularly hostage rescue efforts. Using historical examples from the experiences of Great Britain and the United States, the author concludes that cooperation (ranging from shared intelligence, to forward base access, to the provision of observers) can provide significant advantages in dealing with low-intensity operations. However, the most fruitful joint efforts involve shared activities by countries that possess a similar threat perception, usually in part a result of a common "sociology" in their view of historical developments.