Title: The Special Operations Command -- 'The Quiet Professionals'

Release Date: 2018-03-01

Document Date: 2005-07-27

Description: The origins of U.S. Special Operations Command are described. NSA staff have a presence at the command to provide signals intelligence and other services. 

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U) The Special Operations Command -- 'The Quiet Professionals'
FROM:
USSOCOM Account Manager (S113)
Run Date: 07/27/2005

(U) "I think we have an abort situation." With these words on 24 April 1980, Defense Secretary
Harold Brown informed President Jimmy Carter of the situation at "Desert One," a remote desert
site in Iran. He told the President of the ground commander's recommendation not to proceed
with the mission to rescue 53 American hostages at the embassy in Tehran from the fanatical
followers of the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeni. The President agreed to the commander's
recommendation to pull the special unit back. Minutes later, however, an American RH-53
helicopter and an EC-130 aircraft collided on the ground causing the death of eight servicemen.
(U) American prestige and pride suffered as news of the mission failure at "Desert One" became
known and the hostage situation continued to be played out on national television. It cast harsh
light on the Pentagon's lack of readiness to deal with a new kind of enemy. This tragic incident,
more than any other event, underscored the need for a specialized, well-trained and elite
fighting force to respond to the most difficult situations, and most importantly, succeed.
According to some political analysts, it also cost President Carter his bid for reelection in 1980.
(U) "Why did the mission fail?" In trying to answer this question, Congress and the Executive
Branch took action to develop a capability within the Department of Defense to ensure future
success in similar situations. After seven years of studies and debate, President Ronald Reagan
signed legislation on 13 April 1987 and the United States Special Operations Command
(USSOCOM) was born.
(U) In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, USSOCOM was asked to play a central role in the
campaign against terrorism. The activities of Special Operations Forces (SOF) teams first came
to light as they and CIA officers assisted Northern Alliance fighters against the Taliban and were
photographed riding across the barren landscape in Afghanistan on horseback. Armed with
incredibly precise laser-pointing devices, SOF teams were instrumental in guiding the successful
U.S. bombing campaign which routed Taliban and foreign fighters in Operation Enduring
Freedom.
(U) Over the last two years, SOF teams were deployed in 128 countries, including Greece (for
the Olympics), South Korea, Thailand, Philippines and a host of other countries. Not surprisingly,
Iraq and Afghanistan are claiming the lion's share of special operators today.
(U) Since its activation, USSOCOM has evolved to be completely focused on having the finest
trained and prepared warriors in the world who are in the right place, at the right time, facing
the right adversary, with instant access to information and intelligence support and to agile fire
support and mobility. Teams of special operators--whether Special Forces, Navy SEALs, Special
Tactics, Psychological Operators, Civil Affairs, Army Rangers, aircrews or boat-crews--are part of
a joint team that can efficiently leverage the full spectrum of combat support from air, space,
land or sea.
(U) Today, USSOCOM is one of nine unified commands. It was activated to provide command,
control and training for all special operations forces in the U.S. and has approximately 47,000
active, National Guard and reserve forces.
(U) The U.S. Special Operations Command's mission is twofold: "USSOCOM plans, directs, and
executes special operations in the conduct of the War on Terrorism in order to disrupt, defeat,
and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens and interests
worldwide. USSOCOM organizes, trains, equips and prioritizes the deployment and employment
of special operations forces provided to Geographic Combatant Commanders, American
Ambassadors and their country teams." USSOCOM's area of responsibility is the world.

(U) NSA/CSS has a presence at USSOCOM with a co-located NCR and Cryptologic Services Group
(CSG). Their responsibility is to provide signals intelligence and information assurance products
and services to USSOCOM and its components on a daily basis.
, former NCR
SOCOM, will be deploying to Iraq to serve as NCR Baghdad and is expected to be on station on
18 July.
, formerly Chief Customer Gateway (S11), replaced
as the new NCR
on 27 June 2005.

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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