Author Biography

Dr. Christopher J. Lamb currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) and as a Distinguished Research Fellow in the Institute. He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Resources and Plans and Study Director for the Project on National Security Reform’s 2008 report, "Forging a New Shield." From 1985 to 1992 Dr. Lamb was a Foreign Service Officer. He received his doctorate in International Relations from Georgetown University in 1986, and has been an adjunct professor in the University’s national security program.



Subject Area Keywords

Asymmetric warfare, Counterterrorism, Irregular warfare, National power, National security, Security policy


The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has emphasized the importance of international SOF collaboration, or what USSOCOM refers to as a “global SOF network.” It is difficult to achieve requisite levels of collaboration even among departments and agencies within a single country, much less on an international basis. Yet USSOCOM has been rightly praised for its trailblazing collaboration efforts in counterterrorism operations, so perhaps it can extend successful collaboration to its “global SOF network.” This article argues collaboration lessons from the past decade of counterterrorism operations can be used to facilitate better international SOF collaboration. Even if the lessons are well recognized they will be hard to act upon, especially when USSOCOM is using its indirect approach to SOF missions managed out of U.S. embassies overseas. But the first step in solving any problem is recognizing the nature of the problem and what is required to solve it. The rest is all disciplined, aggressive and intelligent implementation, which Special Operations Forces do well.


P. 10: Figure 1 in the published version shows an adapted diagram from the US Army Field Manual (3-60) with notations inserted in red to reflect the notations made on a hand drawn diagram that appeared on p. 153 of Stanley A. McChrystal's book, My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Portfolio/Penguin, 2013). The author originally inserted in the manuscript a captured image of the diagram that appeared on p. 153 of Gen. McChrystal's book. The notations were McChrystal's, not those of author (Christopher Lamb), and their representation in the published diagram was not intended to suggest otherwise.