Monday, October 7, 2013

Tripoli/Baraawe - Special Forces methodology

First, please see my post from Saturday (I've updated with new information). 

Reports suggest that the US Army's ACE (aka Delta Force) was involved in the Tripoli operation to seize al-Liby. This news shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, we already know that the FBI/CIA were involved in the capture. In that vein, Delta's involvement would have afforded an extra contingency capability had al-Liby/allies resisted the strike team. As this video illustrates, direct action orientated special forces (like Delta) focus on overpowering their adversaries with speed and overwhelming force. The key to their tactical methodology is to psychologically and physically dominate a target in a manner that denies the opportunity for effective resistance.

That being said...

The SEAL raid against the Baraawe compound illustrates an equally important counterpoint - even Tier One SMUs have their limits. In terms of the Baraawe assault, once the SEALs presence became known, the odds quickly shifted against them. In short, they were outmanned and outgunned in hostile territory. At that point, they were forced to withdraw under fire. 

Taken together, the Tripoli/Baraawe operations speak to two fundamental truths. 

First, that a small group of highly trained individuals can achieve a major strategic effect (whether removing one senior Al Qa'ida leader from the battlefield - or eviscerating an enemy network*). Second, that special forces are neither superhuman nor bullet proof. In the end, the employment of these forces requires a situationally weighted calculation of risk v reward and a policymaker understanding that Von Moltke's law continues to abide- "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy.''

*  1) If you prefer a video explanation... click here. 2) I'm very astute to growing insecurity in Iraq.

Please see related links.

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