What's Wrong With SOCOM?

Discussion in 'Special Operations Discussion' started by CDG, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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    Small Wars Journal released a 4 part series on SOCOM. I am working on reading all the parts, but wanted to post to start generating some discussion. I am very interested in what some of the more senior/experienced members have to say.

    What’s Wrong With SOCOM? | Small Wars Journal (Part 1)

    What’s Wrong With ARSOF? | Small Wars Journal (Part 2)

    What’s Wrong with the Rest of SOCOM?: WARCOM, AFSOC, and MARSOC | Small Wars Journal (Part 3)

    What Can Be Done About SOCOM? | Small Wars Journal (Part 4)
     
  2. Etype

    Etype Special Forces Verified SOF

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    The first paragraph of the ARSOF article is bunk.

    - Article states the 160th isn't a proponent of USASOC.
    - USASOC has proponency over USASOAC which owns the 160th, which gives it the same relationship with the 160th that it has with either an SF Group (relationship through USASFC) or with a Ranger Bn (through regimental command).
    - Author states USASOC's two subordinate commands are USAJFKSWCS and USASFC.
    - USASOC's subordinate commands are USASOC HQ, USAJFKSWCS, USASFC, USASOAC, and the 75th Ranger Regiment.
    - Article also states "JSOC units.". JSOC is a component command, which doesn't actually own the units, but has them tasked to it.

    Some pretty big mistakes right out of the gate- not good for credibility.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  3. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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    I noticed that as well, @Etype. I thought maybe I had a wrong understanding though, since I do not serve in USASOC.
     
  4. Etype

    Etype Special Forces Verified SOF

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    At least in the ARSOF entry, the bulk of the points seem to center on his definition of ARSOF- I'm curious where he got it from.

    General Cleveland used ARSOF pretty extensively in ARSOF 2022, but never officially defined it as only referring to USASFC and USAJFKSWCS (at least not that I know of).
     
  5. TLDR20

    TLDR20 SF Medical Sergeant Verified SOF

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    I thought JSOC was a separate entity. Falling under SOCOM m, for funding, but outside of the command structure. I really don't know though. Never served there. Maybe @Marauder06 knows better?
     
  6. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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    I thought this as well. It has always been my understanding that JSOC is not subordinate to SOCOM. That they are co-existing commands with separate missions.
     
  7. AWP

    AWP Formerly Known as Freefalling Administrator

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    JSOC started out under SOCOM, but maybe that changed in the last few years? I'm too lazy to look it up, my inner white girl can't even.
     
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  8. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    I thought 'Robert C. Jones' comment in the comment section was better than the article. Really hard to get through - so poorly written, so many ridiculous generalizations, and an almost total lack of any scholarship or journalistic standards. Will have to wade through the other sections later but this reads as a dipshit CPT who thinks he's smarter than he is. Probably hits a few relevant targets, but that happens when you set your cake-hole on full automatic fire and start spraying.
     
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  9. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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    I thought he didn't say anything that isn't already pretty well-understood. A lot of it is stuff I have seen the members here talk about for years. SF has been getting away from its core mission and doing too much DA, the SEALs don't put much effort into planning, SF Officers aren't allowed to hold the best assignments for SF because of DA blocks that have to be checked, etc. I was hoping for something a little more insightful and incisive, but overall it was a disappointing series. I thought the author essentially compiled some easily found info, and tried to make it seem as though he had researched out all these previously unacknowledged issues.

    On a side note, I am hoping @Hillclimb or @Stanimal will see this and comment on his musings about MARSOC.
     
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  10. Etype

    Etype Special Forces Verified SOF

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    He sounded, to me, like a Q-Course student at the Starbucks on Reilly Rd.

    You can usually find a young captain in there on his break from language school preaching to an NCO or another captain about his infallible take on the world of SOF.
     
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  11. Raksasa Kotor

    Raksasa Kotor AFSOF Verified SOF

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    I skipped straight to part III, his musings on AFSOC writ large and specifically it's participation in FID. The author displays a stunning lack of knowledge of the things he attempts to illuminate; I'll not be wasting my time reading the rest of the article.

    In short, this guy needs a high five. In the face. With a chair.
     
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  12. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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    I agree. His casual dismissal of what the USAF does in the FID arena shows a lot of ignorance, and lends further creedence to my point about him not actually doing any research. This reads like something copy/pasted for a college course, with just enough words changed to get it through turnitin.
     
  13. DA SWO

    DA SWO SOWT Verified SOF

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    Guy doesn't know as much about AFSOC as he thinks.
     
  14. DA SWO

    DA SWO SOWT Verified SOF

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    or some recent retiree with a grudge against USASOC (guess he didn't get that GS job he wanted).
     
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  15. TLDR20

    TLDR20 SF Medical Sergeant Verified SOF

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    @CDG him basically saying "SF is doing too much DA" while getting away from its core mission, seems to be glossing over a very key point. One that I don't know that I agree with.DA is a doctrinal SF mission. Also almost none of our DA centric missions are undertaken unilaterally. We run commandos, or Iraqi SOF, or work with other countries SOF units on developing targeting. This is all well within the scope of our primary mission.
     
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  16. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    I think he may have hit on some things that are legitimate – and certainly some things that are conventional wisdom (to the extent conventional wisdom is relevant to a very specialized topic) – but offered zero insight, a lot of baseless conjecture, and spurious accounts on how they got that way.

    Two examples stuck out to me in the first section – because I see them repeated other places – as indicative of his lack of knowledge.

    1. Organization X runs/hates/loves organization B – JSOC runs SOCOM, big Army hates SF, etc.

    This is indicative of the kind of faulty logic people who don’t know shit love to apply to others – but never themselves. Institutions rarely have human opinions or emotions. You can certainly have organizational culture – but even then there’s a great deal of nuance and individual shifts. All HQs have tensions that are natural in the prosecution of missions and the competition for resources. But the idea that an entire organization is dominated by emotions – and anyone serving in it must toe the line – is ridiculous and insulting. That’s especially true when most officers and a large number of NCOs move between organizations multiple times in their careers. Must be dizzying to adopt a whole new set of prejudices and biases every time you PCS.

    2. The bureaucrats and bureaucracy run and ruin everything.

    There are definite drawbacks to ‘bureaucracy’ in general – most notably as organizations become more complex the span of understanding and span of control for the people who lead them becomes more and more difficult – one of the reasons just being a PT stud, good at shooting people in the face, and good at coming up with memes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re qualified to run a complex organization. But, the main reason HQs grow is because it is fucking complicated to run all the shit they have going on. This dipshit undoubtedly gets paid, has his records in reasonable order, gets equipment, gets assigned missions, has the resources necessary to conduct that mission show up when needed, can communicate, has access to intelligence (or at least classified information), and the host of other things that help making shooting people in the face happen. By and large for SOF it happens without CDRs having to expend a lot of energy – one of the reasons you can keep SOF formations light, they don’t get overwhelmed with staffs to do that kind of work. Well, that shit doesn’t just happen magically. Also, no matter how smart, fit, and savant-like in face-shooting a special operator is the intricacies of the pay process, procurement, logistics train, and all that shit doesn’t just magically appear in their brain. All that stuff requires expertise and coordination – you know, all those fucking bureaucrats.

    I’m all about some insights on organizational dynamics – how they build dysfunction and how to correct them. I’m in a BDE that’s directly subordinate to an ASCC – but still gets ADCON direction from an MSC DRU and is in a GCC that doesn’t like to work with it’s component commands. But, those are driven by organizational and structural requirements. Not because as soon as somebody got promoted they decided which HQs they hated.

    Similarly I think the way organizations are structured, the training and requirements placed on leaders at each level, and the relative interoperability of processes are huge factors in getting to effective operation. But just waiving your arm and saying something is useless takes you out of the argument because anyone who has any idea how shit works dismisses you as someone running your mouth about shit you don’t understand.

    This dude definitely falls into that category in my book.
     
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  17. Devildoc

    Devildoc Verified Military

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    I am not in SOCOM, but I am knowledgeable enough to have recognized the errors in the articles. Generally is looks like a bad rehash of a lot of what one can find in any number of articles or books over the past few years. But the article was poorly written, poorly sourced, and because of those issues alone, have a hard time with the author's credibility.
     
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  18. Etype

    Etype Special Forces Verified SOF

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    This fella doesn't realize that if it involves a partner force of any type, it's FID, UW, or SFA.

    I hope he got a failing grade for this paper-but since he's submitted it for publishing, I don't think he did.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  19. CDG

    CDG Mittens Verified Military

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  20. Etype

    Etype Special Forces Verified SOF

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    Yeah, I don't know how/why I did that.
     

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