In a new era of strategic competition, U.S. Special Operations Command must identify opportunities to out-compete China and Russia and prevail in the gray zone, below the armed level of conflict.
In a new era of strategic competition, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) must identify opportunities to out-compete China and Russia when and where it's most crucial, maintaining the U.S. technical edge and strategic advantage. The future operating environment will be shaped by expansionist peer and near-peer adversaries, greater strategic competition among rival states, and emerging technology.
Winning means successfully prevailing in the gray zone, below the level of armed conflict—where states seek to accumulate greater power and influence without resorting to war. Winning also means that special operations forces (SOF) prevail at the limits of the gray zone and beyond. As rival great powers initiate armed conflict, SOF must be ready to fight and win in support of partner nations and U.S. interests.
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