SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCE STRUCTURE
UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND (USSOCOM)
USSOCOM was formally established as a unified combatant command at MacDill AFB, FL, on 16 April 1987, and commanded by a four star general officer with the title of Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command (USCINCSOC). All SOF of the Army, Navy, and Air Force based in the United States are placed under USCINCSOCís combatant command. USSOCOM has three service component commands: Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Ft. Bragg, NC; Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM) Coronado, CA; Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Hurlburt Field, FL; and one sub-unified command, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Ft. Bragg, NC. USSOCOM exists to provide special operations forces to the National Command Authority (NCA), regional combatant commanders, and American ambassadors and their country teams for successful conduct of special operations during both peace and war. USSOCOM prepares SOF to successfully conduct special operations, including civil affairs and psychological operations.
Responsibilities of USSOCOM include:
∑Readiness of assigned forces and monitoring the readiness of overseas SOF.
∑Monitoring the professional development of all SOF personnel.
∑Developing joint SOF tactics, techniques, and procedures.
∑Conducting specialized courses of instruction.
∑Training assigned forces.
∑Executing its own program and budget (its funding comes directly from Congress and not
from the Services).
∑Conducting research, development, and acquisition of special operations peculiar items.
Theater Special Operations Commands (SOCs)
Since 1988 each of the theater unified commands have established a separate Special Operations Command (SOC) to meet its theater-unique special operations requirements. As subordinate unified commands, the theater SOCs provide the planning, preparation, and command and control of SOF from the Army, Navy, and Air Force. They ensure that SOF strategic capabilities are fully employed and that SOF are fully synchronized with conventional military operations, when applicable.
Theater SOCs offer several advantages to regional commanders. As peacetime elements, the SOCs are the nucleus around which a Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF) can be structured. They provide a clear chain of command for in-theater SOF as well as the staff expertise to plan, conduct, and support joint SO in the theaterís area of responsibility. These special operations may include General Purpose Forces (GPF) under operational control (OPCON) to a SOC. Theater SOCs normally exercise OPCON of SOF (except PSYOP and CA) within each geographic Commander in Chiefís (CINC) area of responsibility. Additionally, the SOCs ensure that SOF personnel fully participate in theater mission planning and that theater component commanders are thoroughly familiar with SOF operational and support requirements
and capabilities. While USCINCSOC provides funding and personnel for the SOCs, each SOC reports directly to the geographic CINC.
SOCs, established as sub-unified commands of the combatant unified commands, are the geographic CINCsí sources of expertise in all areas of special operations, providing the CINCs with a separate element to plan and control the employment of joint SOF in military operations. Additionally, SOCs provide the nucleus for the establishment of a joint special operations task force (JSOTF), when a joint task force is formed. There are six SOCs supporting geographic CINCs worldwide.
They are as follows:
∑Special Operations Command Atlantic Command (SOCACOM)
∑Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT)
∑Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR)
∑Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC)
∑Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR)
∑Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH)
Special Operations Command, Atlantic Command (SOCACOM)
SOCACOM is a subordinate unified command of US Atlantic Command (USACOM) headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. SOCACOM is responsible for planning and conducting joint/multinational special operations throughout USACOM. The SOCACOM staff forms the nucleus of a JSOTF HQ when directed.
SOCACOM staff operates in peacetime as a traditional joint headquarters, with a Command Group and five numbered functional directorates. The only variation from a standard joint headquarters is that the SOJ3 and SOJ5 are combined. In contingency and wartime, the SOCís organizational structure would grow to a Command Group and six numbered functional directorates with the SOJ3 and SOJ5 in separate directorates. Specific SOCACOM missions include:
∑Assist and advise in all matters pertaining to special operations unit/assets in US Atlantic Command.
∑Ensure readiness of assigned SOF and those SOF allocated for contingency planning.
∑Implement and support CINCUSACOM-directed host country training, nation building and professional military-to-military contacts with host-nation armed forces.
∑Conduct Joint Chief of Staff (JCS)-directed exercises.
∑Plan, conduct, and evaluate other joint/multinational exercises, Mobile Training Team (MTT) operations, Joint Combined Exchange for Training (JCETs), and Deployment for Training (DFT) in support of theater, regional, and country strategies.
∑Develop support plans and annexes for USACOM OPLANs/CONPLANs.
Special Operations Command, Central (SOCCENT)
SOCCENT, headquartered at MacDill AFB, Florida, is a subordinate unified command of US Central Command (USCENTCOM). It is responsible for planning special operations throughout the USCENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR); planning and conducting peacetime joint/combined special operations training exercises; and orchestrating command and control of peacetime and wartime special operations as directed. SOCCENT exercises operational control of assigned and attached SOF which deploy for the execution of training and for operational missions in the USCENTCOM AOR as directed by USCINCCENT. When directed by USCINCCENT, SOCCENT forms the nucleus of a JSOTF.
SOCCENT is organized and aligned along traditional joint operational lines with a command group, six numbered/functional directorates (J1 through J6) and a headquarters commandant section. Specific SOCCENT mission tasks include:
∑Assist and advise USCINCCENT on all matters pertaining to special operations in the USCENTCOM AOR.
∑Implement and support USCINCCENT-directed host country training, nation building, and professional military-to-military contacts with host nation armed forces.
∑Conduct JCS directed exercises.
∑Plan and conduct humanitarian assistance and civic actions with countries receptive to US military presence.
∑Plan, conduct, and evaluate other joint exercises, MTTs, DFTs, and JCETs in support of
theater, regional, and country strategies.
Special Operations Command, Europe (SOCEUR)
SOCEUR is a subordinate unified command of US European Command (USEUCOM), headquartered at Vaihingen, Germany. Commander SOCEUR (COMSOCEUR) functions as the director of the European Command Special Operations Directorate and is one of five commanders in the US European AOR who may be designated to establish or lead a European Joint Task Force (JTF). In either role COMSOCEUR reports directly to US Commander in Chief
Europe (USCINCEUR). SOCEUR has OPCON for Army, Navy, and Air Force special operations forces which deploy for the execution of training and operational missions in the US European Command (USEUCOM) AOR. During selected wartime and contingency operations, COMSOCEUR is routinely tasked by USCINCEUR to establish a JSOTF, and deploy to a forward location(s), to provide command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) for assigned US and allied SOF as required.
SOCEUR is organized as a conventional joint staff with a command group and six numbered functional directorates. SOCEUR exercises control of one Army Special Forces Battalion, one Air Force Special Operations Group, three Air Force Special Operations Squadrons, one Air Force Special Tactics Squadron, and two Naval Special Warfare Units. Specific SOCEUR mission tasks include:
∑Assist and advise in all matters pertaining to special operations units/assets in USEUCOM AOR.
∑Ensure readiness of assigned SOF and those SOF allocated for contingency planning.
∑Implement and support USCINCEUR directed host country training and professional military-to-military contacts with European, Partnership for Peace, and African armed forces.
∑Conduct JCS directed exercises.
∑Plan, conduct, and evaluate MTTs, JCETs, and DFTs, in support of regional, theater, and country campaign plans.
∑Develop supporting plans and annexes for USEUCOM OPLANS, CONPLANS and functional USCINCEUR directed operational tasks.
∑Coordinate Special Forces personnel support to US Embassies in Europe and the Newly
Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC)
SOCPAC is a US Pacific Command (USPACOM) subordinate unified command with headquarters collocated with USPACOM at Camp Smith, Hawaii. SOCPAC conducts theater special operations; exercises OPCON of in-theater and apportioned SOF; and is executive agent for all special operations, less CA/PSYOP. COMSOCPAC, is the special advisor for special operations on the USCINCPAC staff. The Staff is organized with a command group, six directorates (SOJ1 - SOJ6), and is augmented by the Joint Intelligence Support Element (JISE/JICPAC) and the 112th Signal Battalion, Signal Detachment, Hawaii. SOCPAC may be rapidly deployed as JTF 510; may be tasked to form a JSOTF under another USCINCPAC JTF; and may be tasked to integrate with allies to form a combined special operations staff. SOCPAC assigned forces comprise one Army Special Forces Battalion, one Air Force Special Operations Group, three Air Force Special Operations Squadrons, one Air Force Special Tactics Squadron, and one Naval Special Warfare Unit. COMSOCPAC is designated as the wartime SOF Component Commander for United States Forces Korea and Deputy Commander, Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force Combined Forces Command Korea.
Specific SOCPAC mission tasks include:
∑Assist and advise USPACOM on all matters pertaining to SO units/assets in the US Pacific Command AOR (except Korea)
∑Ensure readiness of assigned SOF and those SOF allocated for contingency planning.
∑Implement and support USPACOM-directed host country training, nation building assistance, and professional military-to-military contacts with host nation armed forces.
∑Support other USCINCPAC peacetime operations such as counterdrug, humanitarian, and disaster assistance.
∑USPACOM Executive agent (EA) for demining and Integrated Survey Program (ISP). ∑ Conduct JCS and theater-directed exercises.
∑Plan, conduct, and evaluate other joint exercises, MTTs, JCETs, and DFTs, in support of theater, regional, and country strategies.
∑Develop supporting plans and annexes for USPACOM OPLANS and CONPLANS.
Special Operations Command, Korea (SOCKOR)
Operating under armistice conditions in Yongson, Korea, Special Operations Command, Korea (SOCKOR) is the special operations functional component command of US Forces Korea (USFK). SOCKOR is responsible for planning, coordinating, and conducting joint and combined special operations in the Commander, US Forces Korea (COMUSKOREA) area of operations (AO) in support of the Commander in Chief, United Nations Command/Republic of Korea (ROK)-United States Combined Forces Command (CINC UNC-FNC).
In armistice, SOCKOR is established as a traditional joint headquarters with a command group and six directorates. It exercises OPCON of the Special Forces Detachment Korea, and tactical control (TACON) of other US SOF units (less CA and PSYOP) training in Korea. Focused primarily on deterrence and preparation for warfighting, SOCKOR is the only theater SOC where US and allied SOF are institutionally organized for combined special operations. If hostilities resume in Korea, elements of SOCKOR and the ROK Army Special Warfare Command, Republic of Korea Naval (ROKN) Special Warfare Squadron, and the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) Special Operations Squadron will establish the Combined Forces Command (CFC) Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force (CUWTF). CUWTF is commanded by a ROK Lieutenant General, with the SOCKOR Commander as his Deputy.
Special Operations Command, Southern Command (SOCSOUTH)
SOCSOUTH is a subordinate unified command of US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), headquartered at Miami, Florida. SOCSOUTH headquarters is located at Corozal, Panama. SOCSOUTH has OPCON for Army, Navy, and Air Force SOF which deploy forward for the execution of training and for operational missions in the USSOUTHCOM AOR. SOCSOUTH provides command and control for Army and Air Force SOF other than CA and PSYOP. SOCSOUTH forms and deploys a JSOTF headquarters providing C3I connectivity during contingencies and, when directed, has forces OPCON to SOCSOUTH; One Army Special Forces Company, one Army Special Operations Aviation company, one Naval Special Warfare Unit (NSWU), and one Special Boat Unit (SBU). In peacetime, SOCSOUTH is organized as a conventional joint staff with a command group and seven numbered functional directorates J1 through J6 and J8. In wartime, the SOC adds an eighth functional directorate for the headquarters commandant.
Specific SOCSOUTH mission tasks include:
∑Assist and advise in all matters pertaining to SO units/assets in the SOUTHCOM AOR.
∑Ensure readiness of assigned SOF and those SOF allocated for contingency planning.
∑Implement and support USSOUTHCOM-directed host country training, nation assistance, and professional military-to-military contacts with Latin American armed forces.
∑Conduct JCS-directed exercises.
∑Plan, conduct, and evaluate other joint exercises, JCETs, DFTs, and MTTs, for regional, theater, and country strategies.
∑Develop supporting plans and annexes for USSOUTHCOM CONPLANs.
∑Assist USSOUTHCOM staff in Panama Canal Treaty implementation planning and
United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill AFB, FL, is a unified command of active duty and reserve personnel. The active duty SOF elements assigned to USCINCSOC are organized into three service component commands and one sub- unified command. Army forces are structured under the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) headquartered at Ft. Bragg, NC; US Air Force special operations personnel are grouped under the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), headquartered at Hurlburt Field, FL; and Navy SOF elements are organized under the Navy Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM), located at Coronado, CA. The sub-unified command is the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at Ft. Bragg, NC.
NOTE:Further information on Army, Naval, and Air Force Special Operations Components can be found in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 respectively.
Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)
JSOC was established in 1980 and is located at Fort Bragg, NC. JSOC is a joint headquarters designed to study special operations requirements and techniques; ensure interoperability and equipment standardization; plan and conduct joint special operations exercises and training; and develop joint special operations tactics.
SOF Operational Command and Control
During operations, three types of SOF joint task forces (JTFs) may be formed to support a joint force commander (JFC) in the command and control of assigned SOF: the Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF), the Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF), and the Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force (JCMOTF). These JTFs are organized along the lines of a conventional joint task force and normally are established to accomplish a specific mission or conduct a campaign of limited duration. SOF JTFs are flexible in size, composition, and duration of establishment. A SOF JTF may be small and temporary, or larger and more enduring, depending on the national objective or theater mission assigned.
Joint Special Operations Task Force (JSOTF)
A JSOTF is a temporary joint SOF headquarters established, by the NCA or a Joint Force Commander (JFC), to accomplish a specific mission or to control SOF in a specific theater of operations. The JSOTF is composed of special operations units from more than one Service. The JSOTF may have conventional non-special operations units assigned or attached to support the conduct of specific missions.
Creation of and Transition to a JSOTF
Higher command may "stand up" a JSOTF in a variety of ways. Under most circumstances, a regional CINC will direct his SOC to form a JSOTF. That JSOTF might be deployed and employed in advance of the JTF or multinational force of which it will eventually become a part, or the JSOTF and the multinational force might be organized concurrently.
Generic Organization of a Joint Special Operations Task Force
A JSOTF HQ, or a JSOTF, does not have a fixed organization; it is task organized. While the headquarters normally will be able to perform normal command and staff functions, it may rely on non-SOF elements for certain staff activities. JSOTF HQs vary in size as well as scope of mission. Personnel within the JSOTFs have numbered from less than 20 to more than 200. A JSOTF is an organization flexible in both size and composition, and that flexibility provides its primary utility.
A JSOTF is organized in a manner similar to conventional task forces, and JSOTF HQs normally are organized internally along service component or functional lines (i.e., J1 through J6, and ARSOF, NAVSOF, AFSOF etc.). JSOTFs normally are organized to meet a specific SO mission or an operation of limited duration, although they may be formed as standing organizations, depending upon NCA, theater command, or JTF guidance. The establishment of a JSOTF is appropriate when SOF command and control (C2) requirements exceed the capabilities of the theater SOC staff. JSOTF HQs normally are formed around elements from the theater SOC or an existing SOF unit with augmentation from other Service SOF. Also, a JSOTF may be deployed as a complete package from outside the theater. This can be done to provide an additional JSOTF for the regional CINC or to relieve the SOC from the responsibility of organizing a JSOTF.
When subordinate to a Joint Task Force Commander, other than the theater SOC, the JSOTF commander serves as the Joint Force Special Operations Component Commander (JFSOCC). Normally the JFSOCC exercises day-to-day C2 of assigned or attached SOF. The JFSOCC allocates forces against strategic or operational tasks and supports other JTF component commanders based on guidance from the Commander, Joint Task Force (CJTF). Additionally, other responsibilities of the JFSOCC are to:
∑Make recommendations on the proper employment of special operations forces and assets.
∑Plan and coordinate special operations.
∑Synchronize the conduct of special operations with the other component commanders.
Deconfliction, coordination, and transfer of forces are always critical concerns for SO commanders, regardless of organizational status. Deconfliction and coordination activities routinely include target deconfliction, communications frequency allocation, surface and airspace deconfliction, fire support coordination, and coordination for logistics support. SOF must be compatible with conventional forces that either host or support their activities. This is especially true during time-critical contingency planning operations. For example, if SOF are operating from naval surface vessels during forced-entry operations, they must be prepared to function compatibly with the host vessel. Weapons and communications must be deconflicted with ship systems, and SOF helicopters must be compatible with shipboard fuel systems. Likewise, the conventional force commander must be sensitive to his own operations, which may require modification so as not to inhibit the operation of SOF.
JSOTF Support Relationships
In many contingency operations, JSOTF HQs have been established for command and control. SOF have been deployed, and employed well in advance of conventional force elements. Coordinating the transition from special operations to conventional operations, when ordered, is crucial. Such coordination of conventional and special operations ensures that the timing and tempo of the overall unified campaign is maintained. Only the NCA can authorize and direct the assignment of forces to combatant commands or their transfer between combatant commands. When transfer of forces is permanent, the forces are reassigned. When transfer of forces is temporary, the forces may be either reassigned or attached. If the forces are reassigned, the gaining combatant commander exercises Combatant Command (COCOM) of the reassigned force. If the forces are attached, the NCA normally specifies in the deployment order that the gaining combatant commander will exercise OPCON of the attached force. When USSOCOM forces deploy from CONUS into a theater for a specific short-duration mission, these forces are normally attached to the theater combatant commander and may be placed OPCON to the JFSOCC. This requires extensive coordination when the mission is planned out of theater. Because USSOCOM must prepare the forces, it is vital that the JFSOCC clearly communicate the theater combatant commanderís requirements. The JFSOCC assists the theater combatant commander in charge of operational control of SOF from USSOCOM to theater control, coordinating transfer to theater C4I structure, and arranging in-theater support, to include staging facilities. This may require coordination with other theater combatant commanders when those facilities lie within their AORs. JFSOCC planning must ultimately include force recovery and redeployment.
Joint Psychological Operations Task Force (JPOTF)
A JPOTF is composed of psychological operations units from more than one service, formed to carry out PSYOP in support of a joint force commander's campaign or other contingencies. A JPOTF is a temporary joint headquarters established by the combatant commander or a Joint Force Commander (JFC) to accomplish a specific mission or to control PSYOP forces in a specific theater of operations. The JPOTF assists the JFC in developing strategic, operational, and tactical PSYOP plans for a theater campaign or other operations. The JPOTF may be composed of PSYOP units, assigned or attached, from more than one service or units from one service to support the CJTF. The JPOTF may have a staff comprised of staff officers from multiple services or from only one service.
Creation of and Transition to a JPOTF
The scale of an operation generally dictates the organization of PSYOP forces. The PSYOP organization may vary in size depending on the nature of the operation, the capability of available forces, and the supported commander's assessment of the PSYOP requirement. The supported commander may request a PSYOP assessment team (POAT) to assist him in developing the PSYOP objectives and to advise him on the appropriate component mix of assets. If the POAT can accomplish the necessary planning to assist tactical commanders executing PSYOP activities, no further PSYOP forces are likely to be required. The supported commander may "stand up" a JPOTF in a variety of ways. Under most circumstances, a geographic combatant commander (the supported commander) or CJTF will form a JPOTF. The JPOTF could be assigned anywhere in the JFC structure; it normally remains under the control of the JFC to provide a centralized PSYOP focus. Seldom, if at all, will the JPOTF be deployed and employed in advance of the JTF or multinational force of which it will eventually become a part. The JPOTF and a multinational force may be organized concurrently.
During full mobilization, the entire US military PSYOP capability becomes available for employment by the supported combatant commander. PSYOP units apportioned for theater planning purposes and available for employment are identified in Annex D (S) to the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP). Presently, a significant portion of PSYOP forces are maintained in the Reserve Component. Early identification of RC PSYOP requirements by the POAT is essential to ensure timely RC activation, processing, and training, if required. Both active and reserve forces which provide PSYOP capability should be identified in the theater time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD) to ensure theater PSYOP objectives and operations are not delayed.
Generic Organization of a Joint Psychological Operations Task Force
Because it is task organized to fit the mission, A JPOTF does not have a fixed organization. While the headquarters usually will be able to perform most normal command and staff functions, it may sometimes rely on non-PSYOP elements for certain staff activities. The JPOTF varies in size depending on the scope of mission. During past operations, personnel within the JPOTF have numbered from less than 20 to more than 400. A JPOTF is an organization flexible in both size and composition, and this aspect provides its primary utility.
A JPOTF is organized in a manner similar to conventional task forces in that it is organized internally along functional lines (i.e., J1 through J4). A JPOTF normally is organized to meet a specific PSYOP mission. The establishment of a JPOTF is appropriate when PSYOP C2 requirements exceed the capabilities of the theater commanderís staff, or JTF staff. The JPOTF HQs are formed around elements from an existing PSYOP unit with augmentation from other Services. Usually, a JPOTF will be deployed as a complete package from outside the theater. When subordinate to a Joint Task Force Commander, the JPOTF commander exercises day-to- day C2 of assigned or attached PSYOP forces. The COMJPOTF allocates forces against strategic or operational tasks and supports other JTF component commanders based on guidance from the Commander, Joint Task Force (COMJTF). Additionally, other responsibilities of the COMJPOTF are to:
∑Advise the COMJTF on PSYOP.
∑Conduct Joint PSYOP Planning and Execution.
∑Issue planning guidance.
∑Analyze various courses of action.
∑Produce Joint PSYOP products.
∑Coordinate with the other subordinate task forces and components to ensure the most efficient support is provided to the COMJTF.
∑Conduct Joint PSYOP dissemination operations.
∑Evaluate the results of Joint PSYOP.
∑Conduct liaison with host nation agencies and other USG organizations.
∑Establish combat ID SOPs and other directives based on COMJTF guidance.
Joint PSYOP Command and Control
The NCA issues national security policy through directives and statements. During peacetime, the Secretary of Defense (or his designated representatives) translates national security policy into military policy. Because of the nature of the psychological dimension, all policy matters tend to impact upon PSYOP. During war, policy flows directly from the NCA through the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff to the combatant commanders. The combatant commander is responsible for the centralized direction and conduct of PSYOP within his operational area. Early and full PSYOP support to the supported commander is critical throughout the crisis action
In any contingency operation, the JPOTF HQs has been established for command and control of PSYOP forces. PSYOP forces have been deployed, and employed, in support of both conventional force elements and Special Operations Forces (SOF). USCINCSOC exercises combatant command (command authority) (COCOM) of all dedicated Army and Air Force PSYOP forces in the continental United States (CONUS). In fulfilling this responsibility, USCINCSOC coordinates with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chiefs and combatant commanders to ensure all PSYOP and support requirements are addressed.
When USSOCOM forces deploy from CONUS into a theater for a specific short-duration mission, these forces are normally attached to the theater combatant commander and may be placed OPCON to the JFC. If the forces are attached, the NCA normally specifies in the deployment order that the gaining combatant commander will exercise OPCON of the attached force. This requires extensive coordination. Because USSOCOM must prepare the forces, it is vital that the JFC clearly communicate the theater combatant commanderís requirements. The JFC assists the theater combatant commander in charge of operational control of PSYOP from USSOCOM to theater control, coordinating transfer to theater C4I structure and arranging in- theater support, to include staging facilities. This may require coordination with other theater combatant commanders when those facilities lie within their AORs. JFC planning must ultimately include force recovery and redeployment. Additionally, significant PSYOP activity normally requires a JPOTF to coordinate and deconflict execution of the JFC's plan.
Command and Control of PSYOP Assets
When a JPOTF is established, tactical PSYOP forces are placed in direct support of maneuver elements. The COMJTF will attach and detach tactical PSYOP forces with maneuver forces as required to support the JTF mission. Dissemination forces operate in general support of the JFC with tactical control by the JPOTF commander. Multipurpose assets that are primarily PSYOP platforms, such as COMMANDO SOLO, normally remain OPCON to the Joint Special Operations Component Commander (JSOCC) or the COMJSOTF, with tactical control (TACON) to the JPOTF commander.
Psychological Operations Mission
Psychological Operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign government, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's objectives.
Psychological Operations are con-ducted across the operational continuum by supporting national security objectives during peacetime, contingencies, and war. They provide commanders a critical, force-multiplying capability that can be used at tactical,
operational, and strategic levels of operations.
Strategic Psychological Operations
Strategic psychological operations are planned psychological activities in peace and war, which normally pursue objectives to gain the support and cooperation of friendly and neutral countries and to reduce the will and the capacity of hostile or potentially hostile countries to wage war. Global in nature, they may be directed toward large audiences or at key communicators.
Operational Psychological Operations
Operational psychological operations are conducted prior to, during war or conflict, and at the
conclusion of open hostilities in a defined geographic area to promote the effectiveness of the
area commanderís campaigns and strategies. They are directed at regional target audiences and
planned to change audience behavior more rapidly than strategic PSYOP. Operational PSYOP
demonstrate characteristics of both strategic and tactical PSYOP and are the bridge that links
In addition to supporting commanders, psychological operations provide interagency support to other US government agencies. In operations ranging from humanitarian assistance to counterdrug, psychological operations enhance the impact of actions taken by those agencies. Their activities can be used to spread information about ongoing programs and to gain support from the local populace.
Some PSYOP capabilities include:
∑Amplifying the effects of military operations.
∑Informing audiences in denied areas.
∑Overcoming censorship, illiteracy, or interrupted communications systems.
∑Giving guidance or reassurance to isolated or disorganized audiences.
∑Targeting opponent audiences to diminish morale or reduce the will to resist.
∑Sustaining the morale of resistance fighters.
∑Exploiting ethnic, cultural, religious, or economic differences.
∑Giving opponent audiences alternatives to continued conflict.
∑Influencing local support for insurgents.
∑Supporting deception operations.
∑Projecting a favorable image of US actions.
∑Using face-to-face communications, key communicators, and mass media to engage every
practical avenue to channel the target audienceís behavior.
Tactical Psychological Operations
Conducted in the area assigned a tactical commander during conflict and war to support the tactical mission against opposing forces. Tactical PSYOP is associated with "Face-to-Face" operations in support of maneuver units within the theater. Tactical PSYOP Support at corps, division, and brigade levels provides the maneuver commander with a robust tactical dissemination capability. As the approval authority for PSYOP is maintained at echelons above corps, it is envisioned that the ground commander will receive operational and tactical PSYOP support (leaflets and broadcast operations) across his area of influence. The theater PSYOP plan includes this operational and tactical support and remains highly visible and thoroughly integrated into the commanderís tactical plan. PSYOP staff officers at all levels will be made fully aware of the theater PSYOP campaign plan so that the supported commander retains a full concept of the theater PSYOP effort.
However, development and coordination of campaigns and the production of PSYOP products does not occur at the corps, division, or brigade levels. The PSYOP assets assigned to these levels provide a tactical dissemination capability across the commandersí front and have limited PSYOP product development assets. These limited assets are designed to respond to suggested products from the maneuver commander. Upon receiving a tactical commanderís request for a product, the tactical PSYOP unitís developmental cells develop a product within the commanderís intent. They then forward the suggested product, through PSYOP technical channels to the senior PSYOP headquarters in the theater for further development and approval. Upon approval the product is produced and forwarded to the user level for dissemination.
PSYOP Approval Process
There are strict guidelines (National Security Directive 130, US International Information Policy) that must be meet before PSYOP can be initiated. Policy approval authority for peacetime PSYOP rests with the National Command Authority (NCA) or the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and is delegated to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict. During war, this approval may be delegated to the warfighters; i.e., theater commanders in chief (CINC) and joint task force commanders.
Psychological Operations Forces
Each Military Service has an inherent capability to support production and/or dissemination of SYOP products. Joint PSYOP planning guidance is contained in the JSCP, Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES), and Service doctrine. Combatant Commanders and Joint Task Force commanders should address the use of all levels of PSYOP as aspects of the overall strategy for conducting operations.
Unless otherwise directed by the NCA, combatant commanders exercise Combatant Command (COCOM) over all assigned military PSYOP assets. Because of the strategic and operational importance of the PSYOP contribution to the CINCís Strategic Concept, centralized planning of PSYOP should be focused at the combatant command level. When authorized, combatant commanders may allow multinational commanders to exercise operational control (OPCON) of PSYOP forces. The combatant commander may place PSYOP forces under OPCON of a subordinate joint force or component commander for appropriate mission support. PSYOP units may be integrated into multinational operations. Appropriate points of coordination and control of PSYOP activities should be established through a multinational PSYOP cell.
SOF Integration with Conventional Operations and Forces
To fully integrate with conventional operations, SOF must maintain effective liaison and coordination with all components of the joint force that may impact the conduct of SOF activities. Unity of effort among SOF and conventional forces is accomplished through a number
of various integrating elements. These are as follows:
∑Special Operations Coordination Element (SOCOORD). The SOCOORD acts as the principal advisor to an Army corps or Marine expeditionary force commander and their staffs on integrating SOF in the organizations plans and operations. The SOCOORD is a functional staff element of the Corps G-3 and not a part of the JFSOCC command structure. The SOCOORD coordinates for the special operations command and control element (SOCCE). Additionally, the SOCOORD integrates and synchronizes SOF into Corps OPLANS.
∑Special Operations Command and Control Element (SOCCE). The SOCCE is a command and control element generally based on a U.S Army Special Forces company headquarters (SFOD-B) or a Ranger Liaison Element and found usually at a Corps or MAGTF level. The SOCCE integrates special operations (less PSYOP and CMO) with land or maritime operations and normally remains under the control of the Joint Force Special Operations Component Commander (JFSOCC). The SOCCE is the focal point for the synchronization and deconfliction of SOF missions with ground and maritime operations. The SOCCE collocates with the command post of the supported commander and performs C2 or liaison functions as directed by the JFSOCC. The SOCCE can also receive SOF operational, intelligence, and target acquisition reports directly from deployed SOF elements and provide them to the land force headquarters.
∑Special Operations Liaison Element (SOLE). The SOLE is composed of SOF air operations planners and liaison officers from other SOF elements. The special operations task force will provide liaison personnel to the JTF and appropriate levels of each major JTF component command to assist in performing synchronization functions and integrating efforts during mission execution. This ensures special operations are deconflicted with conventional activities, that target selection and apportionment include both conventional and SOF requirements, and that ongoing special operations are integrated into the overall plan. (Example: It is the JFSOCCís liaison to the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) that ensures that SOF air and surface operations are integrated with all joint air operations. The SOLE accomplishes this through the air tasking order (ATO) system by reconciling duplicative targeting, resolving airspace conflicts, and preventing fratricide. The SOLE reports directly to the JFSOCC, and coordinates with all JFSOCC components.
∑Naval Special Warfare Task Unit (NSWTU). These provisional subordinate units of a Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWTG) provide command and control, coordinate administrative and logistical support, and integrate special operations with maritime operations. Designated Naval special warfare (NSW) forces may be under the operational control of the naval component commander or a JFSOCC. NSW forces often are assigned to conventional naval component commanders, as well as to theater JFSOCCs. Several NSWTUs could be operationally subordinate to a NSWTG, as well as having an NSWTU under the operational control of a JFSOCC.