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andymccoy

Ecletic Reader

I'll read just about anything that might be interesting and love to learn about new things.

Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice

Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice - William H. McRaven Overall an interesting depiction of what special operations should mean and why it is important. I am not completely sold on the theory promulgated by Adm. McRaven, nor do I believe that the 8 case studies were the best to demonstrate it. He makes a claim that his theory cuts across times and wars, so that it is broadly applicable to warfare in general. However, he includes 6 case studies from World War II, 1 from Vietnam, and 1 hostage rescue from the 70s. This does not appear to be a very broad collection of actions from a variety of time frames. I am not really sure what the biography of the leader of each raid is meant to convey. If the theory is more important that who the individual leader is, then a biography of the operational leader is irrelevant to the review of the operation. If the leader is essential because he has certain characteristics, then it would be more helpful to explain how those characteristics were essential. Either way, a history of the operational leaders' military resume did not seem at all relevant to the operational review. More notably, it does not appear the Adm. McRaven has internalized all of the lessons from his own study. One of the first questions he uses to critique each action is "Was the objective worth the risk?" However, his own actions as a leader in the special operations in the Middle East demonstrate that he has either failed to ask this question concerning his own operations, or that he refuses to make the answer known to policy makers. Plenty of ink has been spilled on the counter-productivity of drone strikes (especially "signature" strikes) and raids based on incomplete or inaccurate intelligence. Yet, it does not appear that Adm. McRaven has made much effort to control the collateral damage which has helped fuel the recruitment efforts of our enemies. If Adm. McRaven cannot or will not put the critical lens of his own theory into practice with regard to the operations he oversees, then why should any one assume that it is a valid and useful theory?