Sep. 29, 2013 10:00am
Brandon Webb - Editor-in-Chief, SOFREP.com
Brandon Webb is a former U.S. Navy SEAL with combat deployments to southwest Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan. His proudest accomplishment in the U.S. Military was his role as Course Manager for the US Navy SEAL Sniper program. This is arguably one of the most difficult sniper courses in the world.
Webb has received numerous distinguished service awards throughout his career, including the Presidential Unit Citation (personally awarded to him by President George W. Bush) awarded to his SEAL platoon after their Sept 11th, 2001 deployment to Afghanistan.
After the Navy, he worked in Iraq in support of U.S. Intelligence interests as a private contractor, then left to focus on business and writing.
He was formerly a contributing editor for Military.com, and currently the Editor-in-Chief of SOFREP.com. SOFREP (Special Ops Situation Report) is the #1 Internet site for timely and accurate information regarding the Special Operations and Intelligence communities. Brandon is regularly featured in the international media as a subject matter expert. He has appeared on ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, Newsmax, The Blaze, SIRIUS radio, The New York Times and more.
Brandon is a New York Times best selling author with several non-fiction titles completed with his first novel in the works. His last book, The Red Circle, was a New York Times best seller and his last e-book, No Easy Op, was an Amazon best seller. No Easy Op was featured exclusively in the New York Times for it breaking analysis of the controversial book No Easy Day.
He is an avid surfer, skier, member of the legendary Windansea surf club, and private (instrument rated) pilot. When heís not flying his Yak 52 youíll find him on the ground in La Jolla, CA or Lake Tahoe, NV.
ďInnovation has nothing to do with how many [research and development] dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on [research and development]. Itís not about money. Itís about the people you have, how youíre led, and how much you get it.Ē -Steve Jobs
Itís clear to me that very few people in academia and the mainstream media understand the current issues facing the Special Operations community. The recent Council on Foreign Relations report on the future of SOF written by civilian Linda Robinson is a good document, but is missing some key elements. For example, how back-to-back combat deployments are affecting morale, family life, and readiness of force. The report includes some very valid data and conclusions, however, you canít expect someone to complete the full puzzle if they donít have the required experiential background to know what the overall picture looks like.
I do share the reportís observation that the demand put on U.S. SOF since 2001 has outpaced the strategic vision, and this is no doubt a major issue in itself.
U.S. Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) has become very large. And when large organizations experience fast growth they are at risk of becoming marginalized by smaller and more innovative competition. In SOCOMís case, their competition is violent extremists who promote terror and a radical religious ideology that does not tolerate freedom of choice.
The terrorists only rules? That there are no rules, and this gives them a major advantage.
A Look at US SOCOM
U.S. Special Operations Command has become a massive organization, with 60,000 plus troops, a budget that has grown from $2.3 billion in 2001 to $10.4 billion in 2013. Thereís an inherent inflexibility and bureaucracy that comes with an organization of this size. The question that begs to be asked is, ďAre we moving towards conventionalizing SOF?Ē I believe that this is the elephant in the room nobody is talking about.