Unconventional Warfare Military Analysis

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Unconventional Warfare (UW) is considered the trademark of the U.S. Army Special Forces (SF). In fact, UW often serves as the focus for training, planning, and discussion within every aspect of the SF community. Most debates involving UW turn into an analysis of defining Unconventional Warfare and trying to figure out how to fit current SF operations into that definition. Special Forces prides itself on owning UW and serving as the Department of Defense’s subject matter experts on operating by, with, and through an indigenous force. The debate over Special Force’s ownership of this domain should not rely solely on the training, funding, or even doctrine that validates UW as a SF core task. Instead, SF should argue that the U.S. Army Special …show more content…
As a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Captain Volckmann was an experienced infantry officer and trained the Philippine Army leading up to the Japanese invasion in 1941. Prior to the invasion, Volckmann, like many U.S. officers, focused solely on conventional tactics and operations. Volckmann spent much of his free time trying to understand the environment, culture, and populace within the Philippines. His desire to learn about the indigenous environment and understanding of infantry strategies provided a natural ability to transition from a conventional conflict to irregular warfare. In 1942, as the USAFFE and its U.S. partners surrendered to Japanese forces, Captain Volckmann and a handful of U.S. and Filipino servicemembers refused to surrender and escaped into the jungles of …show more content…
Although Volckmann did not possess modern doctrine on UW, he led a successful campaign which resulted in the disruption of Japanese forces and the death of over 50,000 enemy combatants. As his operational environment changed, Volckmann adapted to maximize the effectiveness of his combat power. Volckmann’s natural aptitude inspired thousands of Filipinos to take up arms and join a resistance movement. This aptitude was not taught and cannot be achieved solely through studying doctrine and conducting UW training. Instead, the traits required to conduct Unconventional Warfare must be identified and refined. Special Forces ability to conduct UW has nothing to do with words written in a joint publication or an authorization act. U.S. Army Special Forces is the only American force capable of conducting UW because every Soldier was selected for his aptitude, and assessed on his ability to work by, with, and through an indigenous force to accomplish the United States government’s strategic goals within a complex operational

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