Featured Article: U.S. Special Operations Forces and the Interagency in Phase Zero
U.S. Special Operations Forces and the Interagency in Phase Zero
by Kyle Johnston
The events of September 11, 2001, redefined the American model of security—no longer was the threat of American military power enough to deter large-scale attacks on the homeland. In the year that followed that historic day, President George W. Bush laid out a vision for ensuring American security that set a precedent for preemptive action unseen in modern foreign policy. The Bush Doctrine, as it became known, was codified in the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States. In the introduction, the President stated that “the United States will use this moment of opportunity to extend the benefits of freedom across the globe. We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.” For the first time in American history, the foundation of securing the American people meant projecting power across the globe and creating free-market democracies to prevent attacks on the homeland. Pulitzer Prize winning author and Yale University professor John Lewis Gaddis reflecting on this change stated: “A nation that began with the belief that it could not be safe as long as pirates, marauders, and the agents of predatory empires remained active along its borders has now taken the position that it cannot be safe as long as terrorists and tyrants remain active anywhere in the world.” After September 11, 2001, every tool in the arsenal of American power was dedicated to achieving a democratic, liberal, world order.
The military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed are well known to the public at large. Lesser known operations, but foundational to the President’s global counterterrorism (CT) and preemption efforts, were those executed by U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their interagency partners outside declared theaters of armed conflict…
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Kyle M. Johnston is an active duty U.S. Army officer and recent graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.