Special Operations

Ask CFR Experts

Is using drones against terrorists cheaper than using special forces?

Asked by The Universal Human and Civil Rights Union, from Brooklyn, New York

The Obama administration has increasingly relied on drones in its counterterrorist operations. And, as I explain in a recent CFR report, U.S. special operations forces are doing more things in more places than ever before. The heavy reliance on both drones and unilateral commando raids needs to be reassessed.

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Special Ops Global Whack-a-Mole

Author: Linda Robinson
USA Today

Linda Robinson writes that the upcoming anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death highlights the continued need for a "more comprehensive approach to special operations as part of U.S. national security policy."

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Council Special Report No. 66

The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces

Author: Linda Robinson

In the past ten years, U.S. special operations forces have honed their counterterrorism manhunting ability with great operational success. They now are at a critical inflection point in their development where resources should be realigned to successfully employ the other of their two basic capabilities—working alongside indigenous forces to combat national and transnational threats.

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Corporate Teleconference: Linda Robinson on the Future of Special Forces

Speaker: Linda Robinson
Presider: Jonathan D. Tepperman

With the film Zero Dark Thirty set to premiere this week, Linda Robinson, former CFR adjunct senior fellow and national security expert, discusses the future of U.S. special forces. In Robinson's Foreign Affairs essay, "The Future of Special Operations," she writes that the time has come to change the nature of special operations and go beyond drone strikes and kill-and-capture missions like the one that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. Instead, U.S. special forces should deprioritize this "direct approach" in favor of an "indirect approach."

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