The Value of Special Operations Forces

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Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) action that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The publicly acknowledged raid highlighted the prominent role special operations forces have played in the ongoing war against terror.

More recently, U.S. SOF have served on the front lines in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). Raids conducted by SOF in Iraq have resulted in the killing or capture of several leading ISIS figures, including finance minister Abu Sayyaf, second in command Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa al-Qaduli, and chemical weapons chief, Sleiman Daoud al-Afari. Such efforts, however, do not come without costs as demonstrated by the deaths of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Keating IV in Iraq last week and of U.S. Green Beret, Staff Sergeant Matthew McClintock, in Afghanistan in January.

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