Strategic Utility Analysis of Special Operations Forces Applying Game Theory
KeywordsStrategic Utility, Special Operations, Special Operations Command, Department of Defence, Game Theory.
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AbstractAs a strategic asset, special-operations forces (SOF) are trained, equipped, and organized to combat irregular threats. The employment of SOF is under heavy discussion among academics, decision makers, and the SOF community. This article addresses the following questions: 1) How do SOF achieve strategic effects as a policy tool of national strategy; and 2) In which types of roles and missions do SOF’s strategic value rest? This study claims that to provide strategic utility, SOF must operate independently, or at least supported by conventional forces, executing both direct-action missions and indirect-action missions. SOF’s indirect-action missions are comparatively more important than their direct-action skills. The authors applies game theory to all strategic environments, peacetime, conflict, and conventional war. Using a game-theory approach, this article presents the decrease in SOF strategic value when they are improperly employed. Military leaders and policy makers must employ SOF according to their capabilities and limitations.