Released August 2012 for the public by the Department of the Army. The following document can be downloaded in its entirety here → Prepper Resources → Survival Manuals → 2012 Special Operations Manual
Survival Manual – ADP 3 05 2012 Special Operations Manual
STRATEGIC CONTEXT FOR SPECIAL OPERATIONS
1. The strategic context for the employment of special operations forces is determined by several factors: national policy, geographic combatant commander, joint force commander, or ambassador requirements; the character of the operational environment; as well as the nature of the threat. Missions executed by Army special operations forces may be limited in duration or long-term joint campaigns with multiple lines of operations. These campaigns may be overt, covert, or clandestine, and may be undertaken in peacetime environments or designated theaters of war. They are usually conducted in small numbers in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments. Army special operations forces constitute over half of the Department of Defense special operations capabilities and about five percent of the total active duty Army strength. United States Army Special Operations Command commands all Army special operations forces in the continental United States.
THE JOINT FORCE COMMANDER REQUIREMENTS
2. Joint force commanders, either the combatant commander or joint task force commander, identify operational outcomes that may require the application of Army special operations forces’ two different but mutually supporting special operations capabilities: surgical strike and special warfare. Surgical strike provides a primarily unilateral, scalable direct action capability that is employed in counterterrorism, counter proliferation, hostage rescue, kill/capture operations against designated targets, and other specialized tasks of strategic importance. Special warfare provides a capability that achieves impact largely by working with and through others to assess and moderate behavior, address local conditions, and/or build indigenous war fighting capability, typically in long-duration campaigns. This capability is employed in unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense, security force assistance, stability operations, and select intelligence activities such as preparation of the environment. Army special operations forces units with the mission to close with and destroy an enemy are the U.S. Army Special Forces (unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and combat foreign internal defense), Special Mission Units, and Rangers (counterterrorism and counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). These Army special operations forces maneuver units will conduct combat operations under a joint special operations forces headquarters, which may or may not be subordinate to a joint task force. Military Information Support operations and Civil Affairs operations are both a core activity and capability in support of both Army special operations forces maneuver units (Special Forces, Special Mission Units, and Rangers) and conventional forces formations.
3. Army special operations forces normally deploy as part of a joint special operations task force whose mission is to achieve desired operational- or strategic-level outcomes. United States Special Operations Command and its subordinate Joint Special Operations Command advise joint force commanders on the use of Army special operations forces’ surgical strike capabilities. The theater special operations commands support United States Special Operations Command core operations and activities. The theater special operations commands are trained, organized, and equipped to provide command and control of Army special operations forces executing special warfare and surgical strike. The theater special operations commands, in support of geographic combatant
Commanders and joint force commanders are postured to respond rapidly to emerging regional crises.
THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
4. Army special operations forces operational environments vary widely, from environmental or premission training with North Atlantic Treaty Organization or other coalition partners to operations by individuals or small teams. The employment of Army special operations forces by the joint force commander will depend upon the desired outcome, the determination of acceptable risk, the potential opportunities created by the employment of special operations forces, and the role that the indigenous population must play in the operation or campaign.
5. Army special operations forces also play an important supporting role in major combat operations, providing the joint force commander with a means to identify and engage selected high-payoff targets or conduct sabotage, subversion, influence, or intelligence activities in the enemy’s sanctuary, rear area, or homeland.
6. Army special operations forces activities in countries outside of designated theaters of war can shape potential operational environments by working with host nation or friendly indigenous forces to assist with conflict avoidance or mitigation and set the conditions for the rapid introduction of other U.S. or allied forces. Select Army special operations forces units develop a deep understanding of local conditions and cultures which allows for a nuanced and often low-visibility or clandestine shaping of Special Operations the operational environment. Under certain circumstances, Army special operations may be the only means of achieving the desired outcome, short of a large-scale deployment of forces.
THE NATURE OF THE THREAT
7. ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations, describes the hybrid threat and the challenges posed by nonstate entities or nuclear-capable states that use irregular and asymmetric means to threaten U.S. interests. Army special operations forces continuously study the emerging threats and participate in ongoing activities and operations designed to eliminate, mitigate, or shape the threat. Where U.S. interests are most threatened, Army special operations forces will maintain an enduring presence; partner with regional multinational partners for the purpose of capabilities building, interoperability, and direct assistance during combat operations; and provide a rapid response special operation capability.
8. While Army special operations forces provide capabilities across the range of military operations, these forces are particularly central to the population-centric conflicts prevalent today. Army special operations forces have a global surgical strike capability to rapidly and precisely strike high-payoff targets, to rescue hostages, or to retrieve special materiel or items of interest—all with a low signature and little collateral damage. The joint force commander’s reliance on Army special operations forces special warfare units to develop local or host nation solutions, to build and fight alongside friendly indigenous forces, and to deploy and remain effective in remote or denied areas is also indicative of the changing nature of the threat environment.
9. Unified land operations must account not only for an enemy’s efforts on the land domain, where traditional means of fires and maneuver dominate, but also in emerging population-centric conflicts. Army operations must consider the totality of the physical, cultural, and social environments that influence human behavior to the extent that success of any military operation or campaign depends on the application of unique capabilities that are designed to fight and win population-centric conflicts. Special warfare capabilities are specifically developed for employment in these population centric operations by Soldiers with the aptitude for working among diverse populations and invested with specific skills and preparation to be particularly successful in understanding and working with others. Many of today’s enemies cloak themselves in the human activity of the modern, increasingly interdependent, and virtually connected world. Army special operations, supported by other relevant Army capabilities, recognize that all military organizations have to be cognizant and capable of effectively operating within the population. Special operations forces are especially well suited to fighting and winning effectively and ethically within the population. Civil considerations and an understanding of sociocultural factors are key to understanding the population within the operational environment (JP 2-01.3, Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment).
THE LINES OF EFFORT
10. Army special operations provide strategic options for geographic combatant commanders, joint task force commanders, and ambassadors. Special operations complement the Army’s ability to provide a force that is postured to shape and influence through global special operations forces operations and develop a global special operations forces network that is prepared to conduct combat operations as part of the joint fight. Three lines of effort (figure 2, page 5) guide the development and employment of special operations: generating a force with a purpose, sustained engagement, and executing operations across the spectrum of lethality and influence in support of U.S. interests and host nation objectives. These lines of effort are reinforced through the training and education at the Special Operations Center of Excellence. Generating a force with a purpose is instrumental in the premission training of all special operations forces. Sustained engagement is what can be expected by our leadership and the leadership of regional partners and host nations as Army special operations are positioned in strategic locations around the globe. Army special operations provide capabilities of executing operations across the spectrum of lethality and influence in support of U.S. interests and host nation objectives.
11. The two critical capabilities of special warfare and surgical strike represent the core of America’s unique Army special operations capabilities. Specially selected, trained, educated, and equipped, Army special operations forces are national assets and proudly represent the U.S. Army’s commitment to providing for the broad requirements of our nation’s defense. Army special operations forces’ expertise in special warfare and surgical strike make them invaluable and necessary assets for the planning and execution of unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism campaigns.
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