Murphy's Law: January 28, 2004


Before September 11, 2001, SOCOM (Special Operations Command) was always eager to participate in joint exercises with the army, navy and air force. This was because SOCOM knew that the more the other services worked with SOCOM troops, the more likely SOCOM would be asked to participate in any future conflicts. 

Since then, however, the Special Forces, commandoes and civil affairs troops of SOCOM have been so busy that few have been available for joint exercises. Naturally, the spectacular success of SOCOM in Afghanistan and Iraq has caused the other services to be even more interested in training with SOCOM. But these same troops have been in constant motion since late 2001. SOCOM is basically running the military side of the worldwide war on terror. The price of success, so to speak. SOCOM is trying to compensate by getting some people, if only staff officers, out to joint exercises. It's even more likely that the three services will be dealing with SOCOM people in future operations and having some sense of how SOCOM operates and what it can do is more important than ever. 

SOCOM is trying to compensate by recruiting more troops, but it takes at least three years to train Special Forces or commando (SEAL, Delta Force) trooper before they are expert enough to get to work. Hundreds of retired SOCOM operators have been enticed back into the business (in uniform or as civilians.) SOCOM has also increased joint operations with commandoes (no one else has anything like the Special Forces) from other nations. The foreign commandoes like to work with their American counterparts, not just because it's a chance to get out there and do what they're trained for, but because the American's tend to have the latest gadgets, and don't mind sharing them. Some of this cooperation is done openly (as with Canadian, Australian and British commandoes), but some is done quietly (as with France, Russia and some Moslem nations). With the capture of Saddam Hussein and most of his key aides, more SOCOM people are being withdrawn from Iraq. Some will go to Afghanistan, where the search form Osama bin Laden and Taliban leaders continues. But expect to see SOCOM showing up in other parts of the world later this year. 


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