US Special Forces Role in Counterterrorism

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USSpecial Forces Role in Counterterrorism

USSpecial Forces Role in Counterterrorism

The United States Special Forces continues to play a crucial rolewhen it comes to the overall fight and prevention of terrorism acrossthe globe. The military unit has established itself as a force toreckon with owing to the extensive efforts it has put in dealing withterrorists in different parts of the world. Terrorism adverselyaffects the security of the globe, and it affects the overallactivities including efforts to achieve the sustainable peace that isvital for socio-economic development (Wolfendale, 2006). However,with the increase in cases of terrorist activities, it has beendifficult for affected countries to focus on activities that seek topromote the well-being of their citizens regarding security as theyhave to grapple with the threat posed by terrorism. Fortunately, theUS Special Forces has been helpful in fighting against terrorism andtheir related activities (Sandler, 2011). The Special Forces hasplayed a decisive role in the fight against terrorism by supportingthe military insurgency, training of the local military, hostagerescue and capture of high valued targets.

Roleof US Special Forces on Hostage Rescue Operations

Terrorists have devised different tactics of blackmailing thegovernment into giving in to the demands that they present. Hostagetaking presents as one of the tactics used by the terrorists tocompel the government to give in to the exigencies that they present.Notably, the terrorists arm themselves with detrimental weaponsincluding explosives that have the capability of killing thousands ifthey were to explode. Under such circumstances, it is critical thatdecisions should be made by those in government to ensure that theyneutralize the threat and prevent the possible death off thousands ofcivilians. One of the approaches employed is holding negotiationswith the terrorists, which in most cases fails since the demands theypresent are not be achievable. It requires that the governmentinvokes the services of a trained force to come in and help deal withthe issue. The United States Special Forces has established itself asa vital asset regarding the handling of such situations. The level ofexpertise that they have in dealing with such situations makes it anappropriate option to help in the neutralization of the threat. Theforce has skills on how best to neutralizing the threat and save thethousands of lives that are put at risk(Leibstone, 2009) . The USSpecial Forces has trained on how to assess the hostage situation andimplement an appropriate rescue measure without putting the life ofthose affected in danger. Using the most recent technologies andskills gained from training, the US Special Forces has been essentialin helping deal with hostage rescue efforts to save thousands oflives during attacks.

USSpecial Forces role in training of local military

Countries that have suffered terrorist attacks have are inadequatelyprepared to deal with the situation. Some of them lack an effectivecounterterrorism measure to help in responding to the terroristattacks that occur. The inability to respond in time exposes peopleto danger since the terrorists focus on attaining a high death toll.It is unfortunate that countries affected have a military force thatis not skilled enough to deal with the terrorist threats and attacks.Most rely on outdated skills to help in the fight against theterrorists. The effect of such a measure jeopardizes any efforts tocurb the terrorist’s attacks. However, bilateral agreements betweenaffected countries and the United States government has seen the USSpecial Forces engage in training with the local military in a bid toendow them with skills aimed at dealing with the potential terroristattacks. The cooperation include agreeing on how best to prosecutethe terrorists (Stoffa, 1995). The highly skilled Special Forces hasbeen able to pass on knowledge to the local militaries to enable themto learn how best to deal with the terrorist attacks. The US SpecialForces provides training to militaries in over one hundred andthirty-five countries. Some of the countries that have benefited fromsuch training are Uganda, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Uruguay.The training has seen the US Special Forces form a joint task forcewith the local militaries in a bid to stem out the vice offterrorism. For example, the Special Operations Joint Task Force inAfghanistan has been instrumental in the fight against terrorism.Training offered by the US Special Forces has empowered the localmilitary in fighting against terrorism (Long, 2010).

USSpecial Forces role in Capture of High Valued Targets

Terrorism activities across the globe are conducted under theleadership of individuals. Different terrorist groups such asAl-Qaeda, Al-Shabab in Somalia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syriaall operate under the leadership of a person who coordinatesterrorist activities. For example, the Islamic State is a threat tointernational peace as depicted by a series of attacks they conductin different parts of the world (Miller, 2016)The ability tosuccessfully neutralize such terrorist activities depends on theability to capture the leaders and bring them to trial. It would bepossible to curtail the terrorist activities since terrorists look upto such individuals for inspiration and support in executing theterrorist activities. Leaders of such terrorist groups are consideredhigh valued targets. Their capture is instrumental in destroyingtheir plans to run terrorist activities in different parts of theworld. However, the ability to capture such individuals depends onthe availability of a highly trained force endowed with exceptionalskills to capture the targets. Some of the leaders have colluded withgovernment officials and enjoy protection. Others live in unknownlocation negating the need to employ high skills to locate them.Furthermore, they enjoy protection from fellow terrorists making itdifficult to capture them. Nevertheless, the United States SpecialForces has been endowed with skills to identify the potentiallocation of such targets. Through the help of local officials, it hasbeen possible to apprehend the targets, a move that strengthens thefight against terrorism. For example, the United States SpecialForces was instrumental in capturing and killing Osama bin Laden,leader of the Al-Qaeda. The manner in which the operation wasconducted is a confirmation of the significant role played by the USSpecial Forces in the fight against terrorism. Capture of such highvalued targets disorients the activities of such terrorists.

Supportof Military Insurgency

A military insurgency is measured that focus on subversion, armedconflict, and sabotage to overthrow a government. Militaryinsurgencies have been applied to replace the ruling governmentthrough the establishment of an autonomous national territory. Statesthat have been portrayed as a threat to the wellbeing of its citizensare prone to suffer a military insurgency (Boyle, 2010). Notably,in cases where the government has been determined to commit crimesagainst humanity, the military has often been seen to step in a savethe situation. However, the successful removal of a given governmentis faced by challenges since some of the military officials are loyalto those in power. Under such circumstances, it becomes crucial toincorporate services of an external force to help in the insurgency.The United States Special Forces has been vital in the support theyprovide regarding military uprisings. Through bilateral agreementswith established systems in the world, the force has worked withlocal militaries or a rebellion group that seeks to remove thegovernment that is in power. For example, the US Special forces wereinstrumental when it came to the removal of Muammar Gaddafi frompower after a series of cases of crimes against humanity. During thetime, a revolution erupted which saw citizens demand a change in thegovernment. However, it is hard to attain such goals owing to theestablished military systems that were in place by then. The USSpecial Forces, working with the local groups was significant incapturing and killing Gaddafi, resulting in the change of order. Itis an indication of the essential role played by the US Specialforces.


Increased cases of terrorism activities witnessed across the globenegates the need to come up with an effective military able to dealwith such harmful vices. The United States Special Forces has playeda critical role in promoting peace and sustainability in differentparts of the world. Through collaborations with the individualmilitaries, it has been possible to neutralize increasing cases ofterrorist activities. Cooperations have resulted in improved effortsagainst terrorism.


Boyle, M. J. (2010). Do counterterrorism and counterinsurgency gotogether? International Affairs, 86(2), 333–353.

Leibstone, M. (2009). Special Operations Forces &amp 21ST CenturyWarfare. Military Technology, 33, 29–33. Retrievedfrom

Long, A. (2010). Small is Beautiful: The Counterterrorism Option inAfghanistan. Orbis, 54(2), 199–214.

Miller, M. (2016). English July August 2016 Retrieved 14 August 2016, from

Sandler, T. (2011). The many faces of counterterrorism: Anintroduction. Public Choice, 149(3), 225–234.

Stoffa, A.(1995). Special forces, counterterrorism, and the law of armedconflict. Studies In Conflict &amp Terrorism, 18(1),47-65.

Wolfendale, J. (2006). Terrorism, Security, and the Threat ofCounterterrorism. Studies in Conflict &amp Terrorism, 29(7),753–770.

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