In reference to a recent critique of the article “Special Operations Doctrine: Is It Needed,” by Jerry Lynes (12/21/16), we acknowledge the existence of Joint Special Operations doctrine. Upon reflection, we could title the article “Special Operations Doctrine: It Is¬¬ Needed!” The intent of this article was to capture, share, and address recent accomplishments in Army Special Operations Force (ARSOF) concepts, doctrine, organizational lessons learned, and new ideas. The learning curve from more than a decade of war led to our belief that there was a clear need for the Army to articulate ARSOF as a core competency. Released in 2012, Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-05, Special Operations, filled this void—it identified the greater Army’s responsibilities to understand ARSOF capabilities throughout the full spectrum of conflict.
Clearly articulated within Mr. Lynes’s critique, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and the Special Operations Center of Excellence (SOCoE) fully participate in and serve as principal authors of Joint concepts and doctrine, through the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Our Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Regimental Commandants, and our Joint and Army Doctrine Division are involved in the development of Interagency, Joint, NATO and Army doctrine. In fact, we annually review an estimated 250 NATO, Joint and Army Publications. This is in addition to our ARSOF and Army Future concept publications.
As addressed in the article some of our major achievements in concepts and doctrine are: ADP 3-05; Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-05 (Special Operations); the U.S. Army Functional Concept for Engagement, Human Domain; resurrection of the Gray Zone; ARSOF 2022; USASOC Strategy 2035; and the recognition of Special Operations as an Army Core Competency in the U.S. Army Operating Concept, Win in a Complex World. Through our new SOF elements located throughout the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and the eight Army Centers of Excellence, we have tremendous inclusion in TRADOC and the Army Capabilities Integration Center’s planning teams for their initiatives (Capabilities Integration Enterprise Forum, How the Army Fights, Dense Urban Terrain, etc.). All of these undertakings are in concert with, and in support of joint doctrine.
These clear examples of ARSOF and the Army’s desire to increase interoperability, integration, and interdependence among conventional and special operations forces serve as a testament to the immediate value ADP 3-05 added to the Army enterprise.
LTG (Ret.) Charles T. Cleveland, Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command from 2012-15.
MG James B. Linder, Commanding General of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
CW3 Ronald Dempsey, C Co, 1st BN. 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).