Revised USAF doctrine publication Air Force Doctrine Document 2-7, Special Operations.Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Wald ... recalled that the rapid progress of the Northern Alliance in early November 2001 had been enabled by the targeting support provided by just "Three or four [special operations forces Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF. ] guys on the ground."
--Benjamin S. Lambeth Air Power Against Terror
AIR FORCE SPECIAL operations forces Those Active and Reserve Component Air Force forces designated by the Secretary of Defense that are specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called AFSOF. (AFSOF) provide unique capabilities to the war-fighting combatant commander. Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-7, Special Operations, 16 December 2005, describes AFSOF's support to the joint force commander and reiterates the command relationships that enable him or her to leverage the capabilities of those forces as part of a greater campaign plan. This operational doctrine document guides the employment of AFSOF to meet today's threats.
AFDD 2-7 supersedes its previous version (dated 17 July 2001) and updates key AFSOF doctrine concepts and terms. As America continues to engage in the global war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act , AFSOF has shifted from a platform-based to a capabilities-based model that can accommodate such a campaign. Signaling a change in paradigms, this publication offers a revised discussion of modern AFSOF and the application of certain enduring principles and guiding truths; places more emphasis on AFSOF's core tasks and missions as defined by Us special operations command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. (USSOCOM) directives; updates and clarifies command, control, and organizational relationships; and refines AFSOF planning and support considerations.
AFDD 2-7 includes short, interesting, and well-written vignettes portraying the birth of AFSOF and its evolution through the present day. Readers unfamiliar with the terms carpet-baggers or air commandos as they apply to airpower don't know AFSOF. Particularly notable is the fact that these vignettes include not only success stories but also examples of failures and the way those failures have helped the force evolve.
Every Airman having an investment in the application of airpower should read AFDD 2-7 because it provides a worthy introduction to AFSOF's unique mission, command relationships, and operating motive. For example, the document amply describes Air Force special operations command's responsibility, as the air component of USSOCOM, to organize, train, and equip AFSOF to provide the necessary air capabilities to conduct USSOCOM's nine core tasks:
* counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or
* counterterrorism coun·ter·ter·ror
Intended to prevent or counteract terrorism: counterterror measures; counterterror weapons.
Action or strategy intended to counteract or suppress terrorism.
* special reconnaissance * direct action
* unconventional warfare
* foreign internal defense
* information operations
* civil affairs operations
* psychological operations
In the process, AFDD 2-7 provides short explanations of each of these tasks. Furthermore, it goes on to list and describe AFSOF's core mission areas:
* air-to-surface interface
* agile combat support
* combat-aviation advisory operations
* information operations
* intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance An activity that synchronizes and integrates the planning and operation of sensors, assets, and processing, exploitation, and dissemination systems in direct support of current and future operations. This is an integrated intelligence and operations function. Also called ISR.
* personnel recovery/recovery operations
* precision fires
* dissemination of psychological operations
* specialized air mobility
* specialized refueling
These examples reflect the range of information about AFSOF available from AFDD 2-7. Furthermore, the doctrine document provides a strong understanding of how AFSOF interacts with the joint force, detailing operating and command relationships. It is a mustread for all Airmen.
Editorial Abstract: Opining that modern leaders should study the habits of great thinkers and leaders of the past, Major Tucker focuses specifically on Socrates, a retired soldier, stonemason, and philosopher in Athens, Greece, during the fifth century BC. The author argues that since the "Socratic Method" forces students toward intellectual self-examination and a logical conclusion, it offers a valuable way to help leaders acquire critical thinking useful for influencing and persuading other people.