As regards Geneva Conventions, intermingling CIA and SOF forces could result in the enemy being unable to distinguish between the two groups and categorizing all captives as unlawful combatants.
Command and control (C2) of such a mixed force is also an issue. The SOF team would typically be under the control of the combatant commander, but the CIA paramilitaries operating in the same area of operations, would not, unless specifically designated.26
GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM
SF personnel must have a thorough knowledge of the operational area— including its geographic, political, social, economic and environmental conditions
and its language.
CW3 Charles E. Simmons
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
OEF set the stage for changes in modern warfare that are required to fight terrorism. “Joint operations involving fast-moving CIA paramilitary teams and specialized U.S. military forces in Afghanistan may well serve as a model for future encounters against terrorism in other parts of the world.”27 Even the President stated that the combination, along with precision air power, local allied forces and real-time intelligence “has never really been used before. The conflict in Afghanistan has taught us more about the future of our military than a decade of blue ribbon panels and think-tank symposiums.”28
Initially, all was not sweetness and light in the CIA/DoD-SOF partnership. The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) was reportedly incensed that SOF had to wait for CIA to set up relationships with the local warlords, and might create problems that DoD would have to clean up. In addition, DoD felt that it had more special operations soldiers available than the “spooks at Langley.” 29 Indeed, in Afghanistan, CIA regularly asked for SOF medics, operational soldiers and intelligence specialists.30
In Bush at War, Woodward lays the success of operations in Afghanistan to the CIA/SOF partnership, rather than large-scale assaults, which had limited success. While Woodward implies Rumsfeld’s displeasure over CIA’s early role, Tenet, he says, was unfazed and saw cooperation between the IC and Pentagon as being so good that turf battles should not be a factor. 31
Never before had a goal of this magnitude been accomplished by so few troops on the ground. For 18 days in October, “Four teams, plus two 15-person battalion-level units—only 78 soldiers in all—accounted for the entire Special Forces presence in Afghanistan, according to