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GRP 44- In Reflecting on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks it led me to think about what level of progress has been made in this Global War on Terror. Are we safer than we were 15 years ago? Are we any closer to defeating this ideology shared by many that are doctrinally hell bent on setting the world on fire?
Back on the podcast is retired Special Forces Major and Author of the best-selling book "Lions of Kandahar" Rusty Bradley. The Major served for 21 years and was medically retired for wounds received in combat. Major Bradley is one of only 40 service members in US history to receive the Medal of Valor from the Canadian Prime Minister. Below is an excerpt from the episode.
John Hendricks: I recently read a book called Hammer Head Six, about a Special Forces ODA who went into Afghanistan early in the war. They set up what is known as a Special Forces A-Camp. Can you give the audience some background on what an A-Camp is?
Major Rusty Bradley: The term A-Camp comes from the US Special Forces teams in Vietnam. The A-camp is essentially a self-supported, self-supplied base with which Special Forces have the ability to conduct operations by with and through the indigenous people. Doctrinally they're supposed to have all of their own assigned capabilities. Indirect fire, helicopter support lift assets. Indigenous units. If you imagine what is now understood by a lot of people as a Forward Operating Base by conventional forces. If you take that platform you place it in an extremely remote location that is exactly what a Special Forces A-Camp is.
Dozens of these A-Camps were set up all over Afghanistan in order to allow us to be able to coordinate, and link up with tribes in order to project US combat power into the insurgent-held territory.
John Hendricks: One of the reasons the A-Camps are successful is because it removes the ability for the insurgents to live amongst the people and to operate and that what the insurgent needs to survive. This method should have been what spearheaded the efforts in countering an insurgency but it didn't. Can you explain why that is?
Major Rusty Bradley: The Green Berets are the only US Special Forces by doctrine. The US Special Forces, are the only force on the entire planet that can either build a nation or destroy one. Commanders expected conventional infantry forces to conduct the same kinds of missions as Green Berets without proper training, or support. A lot of the issue comes from a control mechanism by senior members of the Pentagon and the US Army. All SOF falls under the control of regular Army commanders.
These conflicts are not being led by experts who trained their whole lives to fight those types of fights. Policy changes need to be made that allows Special Forces commanders to control conflicts that are determined to be light or medium intensity conflicts. You've got a battle space owner that's a regular commander that knows how to fight with a regular army unit that they're in command of. We're mitigated to a very small space because doctrinally you have a full bird colonel who doesn't want to have to answer to a Special Forces Captain
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