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Joint Special Operations University Press Publications


Intelligence in Denied Areas: New Concepts for a Changing Security Environment by Russell D. Howard

Russell Howard's paper focuses on intelligence operations within denied areas and how these operations today differ from those of the Cold War period. Today, the preeminent threat is transnational, violent terrorist groups that operate under the cover of failed or weak states, as well as under the civil protections afforded in western liberal democracies. Howard focuses on the operational environments in failed or weak states as he discusses ways to improve intelligence targeting and collection in these challenging areas. 


Private Security Infrastructure Abroad: Criminal Terrorist Agendas and the Operational Environment by Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.

Worldwide private security organizations, ranging from unarmed security guards to "combat-capable" paramilitary groups, can act as a force multiplier to enhance security. A critical component of official and nonofficial security regimes is the role of government oversight in ensuring criminals and terrorists are unable to hijack private security organizations for their own objectives. A major problem is the ability of governments to manage or oversee these security elements, which varies significantly from country to country and region to region. In many countries, government control is almost nonexistent, creating an environment in which private security organizations are ripe for criminal or terrorist manipulation. 


Block by Block: Civic Action in the Battle of Baghdad by Adrian T. Bogart III

This monograph describes one facet of the Battle for Baghdad during the period January through November 2006. The story is based on the recollections, notes, and reports of the author, who served with the Multi-National Division, Baghdad (MND¿B) as the G9-the principal staff officer responsible for civic action, Special Operations Forces integration, and counterinsurgency training. In this timeframe MND-B treated civic action as a maneuver function inherent to its operations, and it employed task-organized combat forces to conduct Phase IV (Stability Operations) and Phase V (Enable the Civil Authority) in order to achieve U.S. and Iraqi military objectives. 


A Theory of Special Operations: The Origins, Qualities and Use of SOF by Robert G. Spulak, Jr.

Building on Rear Admiral William McRaven's seminal work "Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice," Dr. Spulak expands McRaven's theory beyond direct action and small raid concepts and builds a theory of SOF looking at SOF as a whole and across the spectrum of operations. He focuses on SOF attributes and how they allow SOF to accomplish missions beyond the capabilities of conventional forces. Through the prism of the principles of war, the author argues SOF's inherent capabilities allow them to overcome the risk and obstacles that would preclude conventional forces from undertaking the mission. 


Hunting Leadership Targets in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Operations by Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.

This monograph reviews selected foreign experience in targeting insurgent and terrorist leadership. The intent is to provide a limited illustration of many efforts in various countries to locate and neutralize key combatant leaders or support cadres whose capture or death was judged contributive to eliminating a guerrilla or terrorist threat. As a dimension accompanying other counterinsurgency (COIN) measures or more developed COIN and counterterrorist strategies, the emphasis placed on leadership targeting has ranged from central to peripheral. 

Second Annual Symposium

The symposium presentations and discussions clearly showed no current consensus exists on the topic of irregular warfare. Some participants embraced it as a new, more effective way to describe the long-term conflict for which the U.S. and its partners are engaged, while others challenge whether it is even a type of warfare. These disagreements aside, a consensus was achieved concerning the need to emphasize our opponents' "logic of action" versus their tactics. 


JSOU is pleased to offer this selection of essays from the 2007 contest. The JSOU intent is that this compendium will benefit the reader professionally and encourage future PME students to enter the contest. Feedback is welcome, and your suggestions will be incorporated into future JSOU reports.


Psychological Operations: Learning is Not a Defense Science Project by Curtis D. Boyd

This paper intends to demystify Psychological Operations (PSYOP) by framing the analysis in terms of certain cultural biases, organizational challenges, and troubles with terminology. The objective is twofold: a. Make PSYOP more understandable by looking at how it is defined in today's information environment and its relationship to other information activities. b. Create an understanding that PSYOP is truth-based, is an amalgam of many media and marketing tactics and techniques, and requires a closer alliance with Public Affairs to communicate a more comprehensible message. 


The Israeli Approach to Irregular Warfare and Implications for the United States by Thomas H. Henriksen

The purview of this study is not large-scale conventional wars such as Israel's 1948, 1956, 1967, or 1973 conflicts or America's Persian Gulf War or its Kosovo bombing campaign. The emphasis is on Israel's practice of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, and the IDF generally and its SOF in particular are rich in experience in these most difficult forms of conflict. Even before Israel's declaration of independence, there have been specialized Jewish forces that date back to the 1930s. With World War II, Great Britain (who ruled Palestine under a League of Nations mandate) trained and equipped unconventional forces from among the Jewish population to combat Nazi armies and their Arab sympathizers in the Middle East. 


Educating for Strategic Thinking in the SOF Community: Considerations and a Proposal by Harry R. Yarger

The image of tactical "snake eaters" and individual and small unit tactical focus appear to be in direct contrast to the increasing stra-tegic role of SOF senior leaders and staff members. Equally important, increasingly SOF will be placed in situations where poor tactical decisions can have significant negative strategic consequences or the fleeting opportunity for positive strategic effect is revealed. How well are SOF personnel prepared for these roles and how best can the SOF "operator" acquire strategic awareness and appreciation and develop strategic thinking abilities for his level? The objective of this monograph is to examine the issue of "strategic thinking" in SOF-what is the future need and how should the community develop and better inculcate strategic thinking in its members. 


Filling Special Operations Gaps with Civilian Expertise by James F. Powers, Jr.

This monograph looks at leveraging civilian personnel outside USSOCOM who possess unusual skills that can enhance and support special operations-designated activities. It also suggests solutions for bringing these uniquely skilled people in for a brief period and addresses using technology to aid in locating, assessing, managing, and retaining these experts. Filling existing and emerging special operations-related gaps in skills and competencies with civilian expertise affords the most innovative and cost-effective means of mission support while ensuring Special Operations Forces (SOF) remain focused on core competencies and congressionally mandated special operations activities.