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Who's who in U.S. Special Operations Forces. (Unconventional Warriors).

U.S. special operations forces consist of approximately 45,000 Army, Navy and Air Force commandos. That represents about 1.3 percent of all U.S. military personnel. The U.S. Special Operations Command receives nearly 1.3 percent of the nation's defense budget. The SOCOM budget for 2002 is $4.2 billion. That includes $409 million for equipment procurement and $1.5 billion for operations and maintenance.

Army Special Operations

Rangers (Airborne): The Rangers are a special operations response strike force that primarily conducts direct action missions. They are expert infantrymen--the principal airfield seizure-and-raid unit in the U.S. Army. A Ranger unit is proficient in all light infantry skills, focusing on mission-essential tasks that include movement to contact, ambush, reconnaissance, airborne, air assault, night operations and hasty defense.

Each battalion in the Ranger Regiment can deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours.

The 75th Ranger Regiment, headquartered at Fort Benning, Ga., is composed of three battalions, and is the premier light-infantry unit of the U.S. Army. The three Ranger battalions that comprise the 75th Ranger Regiment are geographically dispersed:

* 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

* 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Lewis, Wash.

* 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Ft. Banning.

Special Forces: The U.S. Army Special Forces (the operators who wear the Green Beret) are trained to perform extended operations in extremely remote and hostile territory.

Special Forces soldiers have extensive expertise in intelligence, communications, weapons, medical aid, engineering, explosives, and use these skills to conduct operations that are characterized by their motto "De Oppresso Liber"--To Free the Oppressed.

Special Forces are divided into five groups (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 10th) in the Regular Army and two (19th and 20th) in the National Guard, each with a specific regional focus.

Other special operations forces missions include counter-proliferation, information operations, combat search and rescue, counterdrug activities, security assistance, humanitarian assistance, humanitarian demming and special activities

Delta Farce: Although not officially identified by the Defense Department, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (SFOD-D), or Delta Force, is known as the nation's foremost counter-terrorist strike force. Delta (also referred to as Combat Applications Group) is reported to train extensively in CQB (Close Quarters Battle), including airplane, bus and train scenarios.

160th SOAR "The Night Stalkers": The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment [Airborne) provides aviation support to Army special operations forces. The regiment consists of modified OH-6 light observation helicopters, MH-60 utility helicopters and MH-47 medium-lift helicopters. Its focus on night operations has resulted in the nickname, "The Night Stalkers."

The regiment currently consists of three battalions. The 1st and 2nd battalions are located at Fort Campbell, Ky., while the 3rd battalion is located at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

Army special operations aviation missions include the use of dedicated aviation assets to:

* Insert, extract and resupply Special Operations Forces.

* Conduct armed escort, reconnaissance, surveillance, and electronic warfare in support of SOF missions.

* Provide command, control and communications for SOF.

* Provide general support aviation during peacetime and contingency operations.

Psychological Operations: PSYOP units are trained to induce or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to U.S. national goals in selected foreign target audiences. The PSYOP motto is: "Persuade, Change, Influence." They use print and broadcast media to carry out their mission.

Civil Affairs: Civil Affairs units support the commander's relationship with civil authorities and the civilian populace. U.S. Army Reservists comprise some 97 percent of this force. Their skills include public safety, agriculture, finance, economics and the support of dislocated civilian operations.

The Civil Affairs motto is: "By Sword, Deed and Word."

Special Operations Chemical Response Detachment: CRDs are the sole units with the mission of conducting chemical reconnaissance in permissive, semi-permissive and denied areas for special operation forces in theater. These special detachments are located at: 56th CRD--Ft. Campbell, Ky.; 445th CRD (Reserve)--Ft. Meade, Md.; 801st CRD--Ft. Bragg, NC.; 900th CRD--Ft. Carson, Colo.

Special Operations missions include:

Unconventional Warfare: A broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-controlled or politically sensitive territory. Missions include guerilla warfare, evasion and escape, subversion, sabotage and other operations of a low visibility.

Direct Action: Either overt or covert action against an enemy force. These include: seizing, damaging or destroying a target: capturing or recovering personnel or material in support of strategic/operational objectives; or acting as conventional forces.

Special Reconnaissance: Special Operations teams are inserted behind enemy lines to provide intelligence on the enemy or to gather information on the terrain, local populations, enemy capabilities, intentions and activities.

Foreign Internal Defense: FID operations are conducted to help developing nations improving their military and police force. Technical skills, understanding of human-rights issues and humanitarian/civic action projects are included.

Counter-Terrorism: Offensive measures taken to prevent, deter and respond to terrorism.

Psychological Operations: PSYOP is employed to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to U.S. objectives. It can influence emotions, motives and behavior of foreign governments, organizations and individuals.

Civil Affairs: Special Operations can establish, maintain, influence or exploit relations among military forces, civil authorities and civilian populations to facilitate military operations.

Coalition Warfare/Support: Special Operations soldiers have a cultural awareness and language ability, which helps facilitate work with foreign troops.

Humanitarian and Civic Action: Special Operations soldiers also support and initiate humanitarian and civic action operations, such as demining.

The Army's 82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault and Long-Range Surveillance Units are not listed in this overview, because their missions do not fall under the auspices of special operations. They are, however, highly specialized and capable infantry units.

U.S. Navy Special Warfare

SEALs: SEAL is an acronym for Sea, Air and Land. SEALs are qualified in diving and parachuting, and are experts at combat swimming, navigation, demolitions, weapons and many other skills. SEALs operate in small units in maritime, desert, jungle, cold-weather and urban environments.

The major operational components of Naval Special Warfare Command include Naval Special Warfare Group One and Special Boat Squadron One in San Diego, Calif., and Naval Special Warfare Group Two and Special Boat Squadron Two in Norfolk, Va.

These components deploy SEAL teams, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Teams and Special Boat Units to meet the training, exercise, contingency and wartime requirements of theater commanders.

SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team: SDV teams are specially trained SEALs and support personnel who operate and maintain SDVs and dry-deck shelters. The SEAL delivery vehicles are wet submersibles designed to conduct clandestine reconnaissance, direct action and passenger delivery missions in a maritime environment.

Special Boat Squadrons and Units: These units are responsible for operating and maintaining a variety of special operations ships and crafts to conduct coastal and riverine interdiction and support of naval operations. These units are comprised of Special Warfare Combat Crewmen (SWCC).

Special Warfare Combat Crewmembers: Special Warfare Combat Crewmen operate and maintain the inventory of state-of-the-art, high-performance boats and ships used to support SEALs and special operations missions. SWCC focus on clandestine infiltration and exfiltration of SEALs and other special operations forces, They also provide dedicated, rapid mobility in shallow-water areas where larger ships cannot operate.

Air Farce Special Tactics

Pararescue: The primary mission of pararescue (whose members are sometimes called parajumpers or PJs) is personnel recovery and emergency medical capabilities in peacetime and combat environments. They deploy by air, land or sea to provide the trauma medical care for injured personnel. They participate in combat search and rescue operations.

Combat Controllers: Combat controllers establish assault zones. The assault zone is either a drop zone (for parachute operations); a landing zone (for fixed wing or helicopter operations); or an extraction zone (for low altitude resupply), They also establish recovery zones (for surface-to-air recovery of personnel or equipment) and ground-based fire control for AC-130 gunship operations. Combat controllers also are qualified in demolitions to clear obstructions and hazards.

When assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), combat controllers and PJs are combined into special tactics teams. A special tactics team frequently operates with Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and Special Forces in direct action, airfield seizure and personnel recovery missions in hostile territory.

Weather Parachutists: Combat weather personnel provide meteorological and oceanographic information in and for the special operations theater of operations. Functions include tactical infiltration, data collection, analysis and forecasting, mission-tailoring of environmental information, and operations in concert with host nation weather personnel. They perform this job from forward-deployed bases or behind enemy lines using miniature, tactical weather equipment and a variety of communications equipment.

U.S. Marine Carps

These personnel make up one squadron comprised of five detachments supporting Special Forces Groups, the Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Aviation Regiments (SOAR), Psychological Operations Groups (POG), Special Warfare Training Groups (SWTG), Civil Affairs (CA) units and Special Operations Support Battalions.

Note: No Marine units are part of the Special Operations Command, but are listed here due to their specialized training and ability to perform missions similar to that of the U.S. Navy SEALS and U.S. Army Special Forces.

Force Reconnaissance: The U.S. Marine Corps' Force Reconnaissance units conduct pre-assault and distant post-assault reconnaissance in support of an amphibious landing force. They obtain information on all routes, obstacles, terrain and enemy forces within certain boundaries and provide real-time information, through surveillance of areas of interest, photographs and sketches.

Force Reconnaissance missions include:

* Long-range reconnaissance and surveillance

* T.R.A.P. (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft Personnel)

* M.I.O. (Maritime Interdiction Operations)

* Hydrographic surveys and beach reconnaissance

* Small unit raids/selected prisoner snatches

* Harbor reconnaissance

* Underwater searches

* Evacuation of American civilians from hostile environments.

Force Recon companies are attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)).

SOCOM to Re-compete Prime Vendor Contract

Source: Nick Donadio/Periscope-USNI Military Database

The U.S. Special Operations Command, in Tampa, Fla., is expected to issue a solicitation this spring for industry bids to manage the command's logistics-support operations.

The contract is called SOFSA, for special operations forces support activity. It requires that a contractor manager the logistics-supply and depot maintenance workload at USSOCOM's facility in Lexington, Ky. The current contractor is Raytheon Serv Air, in Greenville, Texas.

A request for proposals is due out in March or April, said Scott Bowles, industrial liaison officer at USSOCOM.

The command recently awarded to five-year $120 million contracts for engineering and technical assistance services. The contracts fund "additional manpower for specific tasks, such as acquisition and engineering," said Bowles. "We don't have engineers on our staff."

One contract was awarded to Gemini Industries Inc., Billerica, Mass., and the other to Sverdrup Technology Inc., in Tampa.
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Publication:National Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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