September 7, 2017 at 9:12 am #50322
I’m simultaneously reading this book along with 2 others ( ) and have found the first few chapters spectacular!!!!!
The principles he speaks about in the opening chapter have direct application to our training. The things that small SOF teams rely on for mission success are the exact same things we need to be successful.
“The six principles of special operations presented in this section- simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose-were derived from an analysis of eight historical cases. These principles dominated every successful mission. If one of these principles was overlooked, disregarded, or bypassed, there was invariably a failure of some magnitude. It is these principles that allow special operations forces to achieve relative superiority. Can large forces use these principles to gain relative superiority? It is not likely. Relative superiority favors small forces. This is not to imply that large forces cannot gain some element of surprise or use speed to achieve goals, but gaining relative superiority requires proper integration of all six principles. Because of their size, it is difficult for large forces to develop a simple plan, keep their movements concealed, conduct detailed full-dress rehearsals (down to the individual solider’s level), gain tactical surprise and speed on target, and motivate all the soldiers in the unit to a single goal. At some point the span of command and control becomes too great…”
McRaven goes on to detail each of the six principles before going through detailed mission analysis of key historical SOF successes. The book is great and has given me a lot of insight into past experiences.
Reflecting from a CLC perspective:
-our rehearsals were short and not rigorous enough
-we RARELY had surprise (limited fieldcraft + limited timing)
-we were slow as molasses sometimes on objectives
*Note: without experience (IE prior light infantry, or at MVT FoF or CLC) you’re not going to get as much out of this.
You cannot read yourself towards tactical excellence.September 7, 2017 at 10:45 am #50326zeerfParticipant
Added this to my list of books on my next order. Thanks for the heads up and insight JohnnyMac
September 7, 2017 at 12:05 pm #50331
I would add a 7th principle, that by it’s nature, is implied by McRaven: individual skill and ability.
SOF, by nature of their selection processes, will typically only pass some of the most dedicated, tenacious, skilled soldiers. (There are plenty of exceptions here, I’m just making a broad assertion). In our case, we don’t have the luxury of selection. Without strong individual ability, none of this other stuff really matters.September 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm #50341BrothersKeeperParticipant
That was my primary thought during CLC . . . “I wish we had higher skilled people than Johnny Mac on our team so we could take the objective faster.”
Land Nav 06/15
Alumni Live Fire 08/18
Don’t let your past define your future.September 7, 2017 at 3:20 pm #50346
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