Wednesday, February 09, 2022

SOF Challenges Today

    Prior to WWII, the general attitude towards SOF (Special Operations Forces) was rather negative. Not many people saw a need for an elite group of trained soldiers. That all began to change as the SOF began to expand during the Vietnam War and into the 1980s. Today, most soldiers and civilians have a sense of respect and admiration for SOF. While each branch still maintains their own version of SOF, as a whole, SOF has had a lot more positive attention and spotlight since their creation. This can be seen through detailed movies such as The Lone Survivor, and video games such as Call of Duty. However, even with the recent improvements in training and more success stories, the SOF still has a list of hurdles to address. 

    U.S. SOF still needs more Cyber Soldiers. A lot of present day battles are fought online which saves lives that would've been lost on a battlefield. There has been an increasing demand of Cyber SOF to bust down virtual doors in addition to physical ones. Much of this is in reaction to the increasing amount of cyber attacks through spies and coders. Perhaps in the coming years in addition to the creation of the Space Force, respective branches can build a stronger Cyber Force. 

    Another problem that has been getting a lot of attention is the sense of entitlement among SOF. Military wide, there has been a reoccurring issue of leadership in Spec Ops Command having issues of misconduct and ethic violations. A 2020 report found that some SOF members were taking their "special" title a little too seriously which has lead to a huge sense of entitlement. While it is good that most Americans applaud and see the value of SOF, that "cool" persona might be consuming our soldiers' minds a bit too much. 

     PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) has also been a continuous problem. Yes, these special soldiers are well trained, maintain a sense of entitlement, and are generally successful in their missions. Nonetheless, PTSD has been a giant problem among SOF. SOF has handled the majority of modern warfare in the past decade under very harsh and often traumatizing circumstances. Most soldiers are expected to go on back to back missions with little to no recovery time. While overall suicides for the military have decreased, suicides within the SOF have increased significantly. This is problematic not only for the soldier, but for the force as a whole. 

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