The Future of Special Operations Forces

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On September 11, 2001, I was a newly-appointed SEAL platoon commander.  My platoon was on an urban warfare training trip in the south east United States when we received word that a plane had struck one of the twin towers.  We were literally reloading weapons, when one of our platoon-mates turned on a television just as the second tower was struck.  Stunned, we knew our lives as SEAL operators had just changed, but we had no idea the extent to which that was true.  In the decade ahead, everything about our force would transform.

Physically, we were runners, swimmers, and weight lifters, training ourselves to carry large loads through heavy-terrain for extended periods. Neither our gear, nor our physiques, nor our tactics were designed to move with fluidity.  On the news that day, we’d seen the future. 

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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