The world is changing rapidly in the 21st century, and special operations forces are adapting to a new security environment where great power competition is rapidly ramping up. While violent extremist organizations continue to pose a worldwide threat, near-peer competitors, both in the West and the East, demand a new focus both strategically and tactically.
Responses to this new environment are in progress across a wide range of activities and programs. In this edition of Special Operations Outlook, we cover the increased cooperation of international special operations forces in meeting the threat of restive neighbors through increased cooperative training exercises and new entities like the Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC), as well as initiatives like the Trans-Regional Resistance Working Group. Equipment and technology are also adapting to a new focus, from new small arms technologies covered in our “Target Engagement Spotlight” to USSOCOM’s and NSWC’s exploration of advanced AI, unmanned autonomy, robotics, and simulation technologies, covered in several articles in this issue. Interviews with component commanders and an overall review of USSOCOM AT&L are also included this year.
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