Book Review – Resistance Operating Concept (ROC)

In 2014 the Resistance Operating Concept (ROC) began its early stages of development. The Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), commanded by Major General (MG) Mike Repass, began this academic effort. Subsequent SOCEUR commanders and their staffs along with other members of the European special operations community continued the endeavor.

A series of seminars, conferences, and workshops were held to refine the doctrine for unconventional warfare in Europe. The actions of a resurgent and aggressive Russia made this effort a priority within the European special operations community. The ROC is a concept that will aid Northern and Eastern European countries to deter and resist aggression in Eastern Europe.

These workshops, conferences, and seminars led to the writing of a book entitled Resistance Operating Concept. The chief editor was Otto C. Fiala of SOCEUR. The book was printed and distributed in limited copies by Arkitektkpia in Stockholm, Sweden in late 2019.

In December 2019 the Swedish Defence University and SOCEUR jointly announced the finished product. The editor of SOF News was fortunate to receive a hard bound copy for review. The book is certainly a superb addition to the library of the military academic – especially one with a keen interest in Unconventional Warfare. It is very professionally done and full of great material about historical and contemporary unconventional warfare topics.

The foreword is provided by Major General Kirk Smith – a former commander of SOCEUR. BG Anders Lofberg, the commander of the Swedish Special Operations Command also provided a foreword. The four chapters are:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction
  • Chapter 2 – Resilience as a Foundation for Resistance
  • Chapter 3 – Resistance
  • Chapter 4 – Interagency Planning and Preparation

There are ten appendices on the topics of legal considerations, methods of nonviolent resistance, Russian hybrid warfare tactics, Second World War case studies, Cold War resistance case studies, case studies lessons learned, assessing resilience, population interaction with a foreign occupier, government interagency planning, and more. The glossary provides terms, definitions, abbreviation, and acronyms. The book is very documented with 624 endnotes.

A new printing of Resistance Operating Concept is currently being done by the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) Press at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida. This printing is a collaborative work between SOCEUR and JSOU. A digital version of the book (PDF) is available online. (see references below).

The Resistance Operating Concept is being used by European SOF in academic and field environments. In collaboration with SOCEUR and Latvian special operations forces, the Joint Special Operations University conducted a National Resistance Course in Riga, Latvia during December 2019. More than 40 students, the majority from the Zemessardze (Territorial Forces), studied unconventional warfare.

The Resistance Operating Concept will be a guiding publication used by European SOF and US SOF for many years to come. It will certainly be integrated into the curriculum of SOF centric courses and schools. It is also a great addition for the military professional’s library.



Resistance Operating Concept, JSOU Press, 2020

Resistance Operating Concept, SOCEUR and Swedish Defence University, edited by Otto Fiala, 2019, 251 pages. PDF Document Online at Digitala Vetenskapliga Arkivet.

“SOCEUR and Resistance Operating Concept”, by John Friberg, SOF News, July 19, 2019.

Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) Press Publications

About John Friberg 201 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.