|A Special Operations Primer
Special Operations are defined as
operations conducted by specially trained, equipped and
organized Department of Defense forces against strategic or
tactical targets in pursuit of national military, political,
economic or psychological objectives. These operations may be
conducted during periods of peace or hostilities. They may
support conventional operations, or they may be undertaken
independently when the use of conventional forces is either
inappropriate or infeasible.
U.S. Army Special Operations
Forces (or SOF) consist of Special Forces, Ranger, Special
Operations Aviation, Psychological Operations, Civil Affairs, as
well as Signal and Support.
The mission of the Special Forces
Groups is to plan, prepare for, and when directed, deploy to
conduct unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense,
special reconnaissance and direct actions in support of U.S.
National Policy objectives within designated areas of
The units continually train to
conduct unconventional warfare in any of its forms -- Guerrilla
Warfare, Evasion and Escape, Subversion, and Sabotage. The
soldiers are also schooled in direct action operations and
Approximately 1400 soldiers are
assigned to each group. The 12-man "A" Team is the
operating level of the SF Group.
Rangers are the masters of
special light infantry operations. These include attacks to
temporarily seize and secure key objectives and other light
infantry operations requiring unique capabilities. Like their
special forces counterparts, Rangers can infiltrate an area by
land, by sea or by air.
The 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment is a unique unit. It is prepared to support
Special Operations Forces on a worldwide basis. The unit uses
three types of modified helicopters.
The capabilities of the aviation
units include inserting, resupplying and extracting U.S. and
Allied SOF personnel. They also assist in SOF Search &
Rescue and Escape & Evasion activities. In addition to
general aviation support to the SOF community, these units
provide forward air control and close air support.
The purpose of Psychological
Operations (PSYOPS) is to demoralize the enemy by causing
dissention and unrest among his ranks, while at the same time
convincing the local population to support American troops.
Psyop units accomplish their mission by disseminating propaganda
messages in the form of leaflets, posters, broadcasts and
audio-visual tapes. Each unit has its own intelligence and
The Civil Affairs units are
designed to prevent civilian interference with tactical
operations, to assist commanders in discharging their
responsibilities toward the civilian population, and to provide
liaison with civilian government agencies.
In the mid-1980's, separate units
were organized to provide signal and support to Special
Operations units. The 112th Signal Battalion provides
communications links and service between the command, joint
controlling agencies or commands, and U.S. Army special
operations commands in two theaters of operation. The 528th
Support Battalion enhances USASOC's medical, maintenance,
supply, and transportation capabilities.
- PLEASE READ
|This page is an
unofficial document and does not represent information
endorsed by the United States Government, the United
States Special Operations Command or the United States
Army Special Operations Command. However, most
information is derived from those sources and has been
checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and
suggestions, please go to the Communications
Gunnery Network - SOF