Video – ARSOF and Great Power Competition


A video produced by U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School explains “Great Power Competition” (GPC) and Army Special Operations Forces’ (ARSOF) role in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Colonel Bryan Groves and Major Steve Ferenzi from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) G-5 Strategic Planning Division discuss how ARSOF’s strategy is designed to support the vision of the U.S. Army as well as the strategic guidance of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

In the video explanations are provided for what great power competition is and lays out the terms used when discussing GPC. The 2018 National Defense Strategy set the conditions for a shifting of focus from counterinsurgency and counterterrorism to competition with Russia and China. In this new strategy the military is a supporting effort in GPC. The video details how the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) will support the efforts of the U.S. government and the Department of Defense in GPC.

The implications of this shift to GPC for ARSOF are significant. However, it does not mean that ARSOF will cease engaging in irregular warfare (IW). The core missions of ARSOF remain valid. JCETs with partner nation forces will continue. Working with interagency partners conducting counter narcotic operations will not go away. The expertise that ARSOF brings to IW – such as competencies in the human domain (language, culture, etc.) are still important in GPC.

ARSOF provides low-risk, high-impact options across the spectrum of GPC. USASOC units contribute deterrence and compellence options for the US government using low visibility and discreet methods. These options help to influence and shape behavior, provide options other than the use of tanks, ships, and nukes, build resilience and the capacity to resist aggression in partner-nation in populations (think Baltic States), and much more.

ARSOF augments and complements the conventional force options in GPC. In addition, the use of irrregular warfare by ARSOF provides the U.S. government and Department of Defense a set of options that in many cases is cheaper and less escalatory than conventional options.

The video provides a great explanation of great power competition. It also helps the viewer to understand the role of PSYOP, Ranger, Civil Affairs, Special Forces, and other ARSOF units in employing irregular warfare in an era of great power competition.


Knowledge Wins – Great Power Competition. This video presented by the U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Center and School is Part I of three parts. Published on August 21, 2020, 21-minutes long.

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