A SOCOM’s comprehensive review of its subordinating units identified major issues

A SOCOM's comprehensive review of its subordinating units identified major issues 1

The missions and operations in the years after 9/11 has shaped the senses of the U.S. Special Operation Forces operators and improved their skills. But, at some point, there were some misleading events that were not in coordination with good conduct policies. Therefore, the DoD has ordered a comprehensive study on SOCOM and its subordinating units back in 2018.

The decision was motivated by a string of repetitive scandals that brought America’s Special Operations units out of the shadows and into the limelight for the negative reasons. The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) was in the undesirable position to be the one where the majority of issues originated (Chief Eddie Gallagher’s trial, the murder of Staff Sergeant Melgar, drug issues in SEAL Team 10, war crimes accusations in SEAL Team 6, just to name a few). NSW has been trying to fix its cultural problem by implementing a series of initiatives.

After months of investigation, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has finished its comprehensive review of the professionalism and ethical issues in the Special Operations community, the SOFREP reported.

The full 69-page report found that Special Operations units are too focused on being lethal on the battlefield and deploy as much as possible. As a consequence, what might appear as banal (for example, professional development) is overlooked. Moreover, the report found that high-performing senior enlisted leaders are often plucked for instructor positions to the detriment of their teams.

The reviewers argue that SOF operators are set for potential failure even while in basic training. “Several SOF career fields,” the report states, “offer paths for direct accession and are segregated with other SOF candidates during initial entry training.” Here the report refers to initiatives such as the Navy’s Division 800 initiative, where candidates with Naval Special Warfare (Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen) or Special Operations (Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Navy Divers) contracts are pooled together in basic training. Such segregation can “possibly foster an unhealthy sense of entitlement as a result of special treatment and facilities,” according to the report.

The story is developing and it will be interesting to hear the comments from the SOF community. For more details visit SOFREP.