Monday, August 22, 2011

The Year in Special Operations 2011-2012 Edition

May 2, 2011 - As the sun rose over America this day, it shone on a nation celebrating the news of the successful mission that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. To say that the members of the U.S. special operations forces (SOF) community were obsessive in their desire to be the ones to bring him to justice is a vast understatement. Even before the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11, U.S. SOF leaders knew they would lead the fight against al Qaeda worldwide, and that they would be tasked by America to avenge the nearly 3,000 dead of that day as well as previous attacks. It took almost a decade, far too many casualties, and involved a search many thought would never end in success, but May 1, 2011, U.S. SOF warriors and professionals of the intelligence community got him. In the end, it was Vice Adm. William McRaven and his warriors at the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), who, along with members of the U.S. intelligence community, would run down bin Laden and finish the job. Most people had never heard of JSOC until news of the mission's success, and still have little idea who these elite SOF warriors are. That is as it should be, and regular readers of The Year in Special Operations have probably noted our very limited coverage of JSOC operations and personnel over the years. What JSOC and its warriors do for America and the world must necessarily remain clandestine and behind the scenes. We respect that need, and will continue to do so.