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U.S. Army Special Operations Forces: Integral to the Army and the Joint Force

March 16, 2010

In the years ahead, the United States will confront complex, dynamic and unanticipated challenges to its national security and the collective security of its friends and allies. These challenges will occur in many forms and will be waged across the spectrum of conflict—from peaceful competition to general war—and in all domains: land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. To succeed in this environment, four roles for land forces emerge:

• to prevail in protracted counterinsurgency campaigns;

• to engage to help other nations build capacity and assure friends and allies;

• to support civil authorities at home and abroad; and

• to deter and defeat hybrid threats and hostile state actors.

In fulfilling these roles, the Army must continuously adapt to a versatile mix of tailorable and networked organizations, operating on a rotational cycle, to provide a sustained flow of trained and ready forces for full-spectrum operations and to hedge against unexpected contingencies—at a tempo that is predictable and sustainable for the allvolunteer force.

Army special operations forces (ARSOF)—an integral part of the Army and the joint force—provide the nation with unique, sophisticated and tailored capabilities. ARSOF Soldiers are exceptional men and women, specially selected, trained and equipped, and possessing unique individual and collective capabilities that connect U.S. government intent and actions to operational and strategic effects. Ultimately, ARSOF is able to achieve strategic effects through tactical and operational excellence on the battlefield and in lesser-known areas around the world because it operates in a joint, interagency and combined environment as a matter of course, and brings Soldiers who are trained and educated to solve, or assist in solving, complex political-military challenges and to operate in ambiguous and high-risk environments.