United States Special Operations Forces

second edition

David Tucker and Christopher J. Lamb

Columbia University Press

United States Special Operations Forces

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231183895

376 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231183888

376 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $105.00£88.00

Pub Date: November 2019

ISBN: 9780231545228

376 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

United States Special Operations Forces

second edition

David Tucker and Christopher J. Lamb

Columbia University Press

In this book, two national-security experts put the exploits of America’s special operation forces in historical and strategic context. David Tucker and Christopher J. Lamb offer an incisive overview of America’s turbulent experience with special operations. Starting with in-depth interviews with special operators, the authors illustrate the diversity of modern special operations forces and the strategic value of their unique attributes.

Despite longstanding and growing public fascination with special operators, these forces and their contribution to national security are poorly understood. With this book, Tucker and Lamb dispel common misconceptions and offer a penetrating analysis of how these unique and valuable forces can be employed to even better effect in the future. The book builds toward a comprehensive assessment of the strategic utility of special operations forces, which it then considers in light of the demands of future warfare. This second edition of United States Special Operations Forces, revised throughout to account for lessons learned in the twelve years since its first publication, includes two new case studies, one on High Value Target Teams and another on Village Stability Operations, and two new appendixes charting the evolution of special operation missions and the best literature on all aspects of U.S. special operation forces.
Since its first edition in 2007, United States Special Operations Forces has served as the indispensable source for serious policy and strategy makers involved with overseeing our nation's special operations forces. With deep knowledge and great clarity, the authors explain the essential characteristics of special operations forces, their strategic utility, and key issues involved in their strategic employment. James R. Locher, recipient of the 2019 Global SOF Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and former assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict
United States Special Operations Forces reflects the authors’ deep knowledge and understanding of special operations. It is unique in that it clearly offers a logical value proposition for the most effective employment of special operations forces. Its arguments are compelling and convincing. A substantive and comprehensive contribution to the literature about special operations. Hy Rothstein, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
This updated edition is a brilliant and timely addition to the exponentially growing literature on the ‘Fifth Service,’ the fastest growing branch of armed forces in the United States and around the world. It is a must-read for students, scholars, members of the armed forces, and anyone who wants to understand the changing nature of warfare. Ami Pedahzur, University of Texas at Austin
Introduction: American Special Operations Forces
Part I: The American Experience with Special Operations Forces
1. Special Operations Forces and Modern Warfare
2. History
Part II: Selected Case Studies
3. Somalia
4. High-Value Target Teams
5. Village Stability Operations
Part III: Special Operations Forces and U.S. National Security Policy
6. Special Operations Forces Roles and Missions
7. Special Operations Forces and the Future of Warfare
Conclusion: The Strategic Utility of American Special Operations Forces
Appendix 1: The Evolution of Special Operations Forces Roles and Missions
Appendix 2: Bibliographic Essay for U.S. Special Operations Forces
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

About the Author

David Tucker is senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. He taught in the Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School for many years and before that served in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. His most recent book is Revolution and Resistance: Moral Revolution, Military Might, and the End of Empire (2016).

Christopher J. Lamb retired as a distinguished research fellow at the National Defense University. His previous positions in the Departments of Defense and State include deputy assistant secretary of defense for resources and plans, deputy director of the State Department’s interagency task force for military stabilization in the Balkans, and director of policy planning in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. His most recent book is The Mayaguez Crisis, Mission Command, and Civil-Military Relations (2018).