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Special Operations Forces

The Ukrainian army will have the fourth branch of the Armed Forces. Special Operations Forces will be added to the Ground, Air and Naval Forces. Acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval said this during celebrations at the National Defense University of Ukraine on 19 June 2014. He said that it had been decided to create such troops due to the latest developments in eastern Ukraine. "Special operations forces will continue to work out the skills of rapid response to such attacks on the country. New Armed Forces will be formed on the basis of some military units that are currently not named," reads the report.

The anti-terrorist operation that had lasted for two months showed that the Ukrainian army is not prepared for such challenges. To cope with nonstate enemies, jointness must extend down to the tactical level. Small and agile joint units, self-sustaining or with reachback logistics, executing missions independently but based on national source real-time intelligence, are the wave of the future. The interface between special operations and conventional forces on the division and corps level is a critical seam. Special Operations Forces typically function on the operational and strategic levels but in reality are tactical assets with a strategic impact. As such they interface with conventional forces on several levels.

Special operations are operations requiring unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, equipment and training often conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and characterized by one or more of the following: time sensitive, clandestine, low visibility, conducted with and/or through indigenous forces, requiring regional expertise, and/or a high degree of risk. These operations vary in size, purpose, and combat-intensity within a range of military operations. These operations extend from military engagement, security cooperation, and deterrence, to crisis response and limited contingency operations and, if necessary, major operations.

A limited contingency operation can be a single small-scale, limited-duration operation or a significant part of a major operation of extended duration involving combat. The associated general strategic and operational objectives are to protect Ukrainian interests and to prevent surprise attack or further conflict. A limited contingency operation in response to a crisis includes all of those operations for which a joint operation planning process is required and a contingency or crisis plan is developed. The level of complexity, duration, and resources depends on the circumstances.

Special warfare is the execution of activities that involve a combination of lethal and nonlethal actions taken by a specially trained and educated force that has a deep understanding of cultures and foreign language, proficiency in small-unit tactics, and the ability to build and fight alongside indigenous combat formations in a permissive, uncertain, or hostile environment. Unconventional warfare is defined as activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area.

An underground is a cellular covert element within unconventional warfare that is compartmentalized and conducts covert or clandestine activities in areas normally denied to the auxiliary and the guerrilla force. An auxiliary, for the purpose of unconventional warfare, is the support element of the irregular organization whose organization and operations are clandestine in nature and whose members do not openly indicate their sympathy or involvement with the irregular movement.

Surgical strike is the execution of activities in a precise manner that employ special operations forces in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to seize, destroy, capture, exploit, recover or damage designated targets, or influence threats. Surgical strike is not intended to be an isolated activity; surgical strike is executed to shape the operational environment or influence a threat target audience in support of larger strategic interests.




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