January 9, 2006:
Canada has become the first nation to emulate the success of the U.S. Army Special Forces. Canada is apparently coming at it from the peacekeeping angle, which has been the major preoccupation of the Canadian armed forces for over a decade. The U.S. Special Forces are a unique military organization, the only one in the world with troops who specialize in the language and culture of nations they may be operating in. The Special Forces are also elite troops, very selective, and requiring several years of specialized training before they are ready for action. The U.S. Special Forces have shown a real aptitude for peacekeeping, in those instances where they were used this way. Given their language and cultural skills, Special Forces troopers cannot help but have a pacifying effect wherever they operate.
Apparently, the 750 man Canadian "Special Operations Regiment" won't be a clone of the U.S. Special Forces. That's because the basic training for Special Forces troops takes two to three years, and it then takes another few years in the field before the troops are ready for anything. Canada has had a small commando force for decades, and that will provide the initial cadre of trainers and training facilities for the new regiment. Apparently, the regiment will initially be closer in capability to the U.S. Army Rangers, who are very well trained light infantry. Over the next decade, more members of the regiment can be put through the years of specialized training that will bring them up to something approaching the U.S. Special Forces standard. The American and Canadian ground forces have worked together for generations, so there will probably be some assistance from the U.S. Special Forces, to help the Canadians get going.
One problem, however, will be finding enough qualified recruits. The U.S. Special Forces recruits mainly from the armed forces. Even with ten times the population of Canada, the U.S. has a hard time getting enough qualified right people for the 5,000 strong U.S. Army Special Forces.