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Talk:Clandestine human-source intelligence and covert action

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 Definition Intelligence and military special operations functions that either should be completely secret (i.e., clandestine: the existence of which is not known outside the relevant government circles), or simply cannot be linked to the sponsor (i.e., covert: it is known that sabotage is taking place, but its sponsor is unknown). [d] [e]

Briefly:

  • historical background should cover development of activity; not necessarily divided by region or nationality. There's no reason to do so if you're discussing major advancements in the field chronologically
  • Surging additional capability for the Second World War [edit] is a somewhat bogus subheading--if its about ww2 intel call it that.
  • change Separate functions during peacetime? [edit] to significant organizations and continue the rest of the list from there, including past and present.
  • Also, the diagrams are a distraction that really add nothing to the context. --Robert W King 13:36, 17 May 2008 (CDT)

First response (do need some clarification)

The U.S.-U.K. relationship is extremely significant historically. Various postwar developments, such as Delta Force, were consciously modeled on Special Air Service.

Perhaps we can find a better term than surging, but the concept, I believe, is important, and gets into current issues. For example, SOE was created in the hope it could provide some services in a faster way than SIS' very deliberate one. The results were mixed.

I mention this as important at the moment, which could be brought in although it might warrant retitling the article, to initiatives in the Department of Defense. There were two areas: Rumsfeld wanted to increase special operations forces by about 33% in a short tine, although it's not at all clear how that could be done under existing roles and missions. For example, depending on the specialty, it can take over a year to qualify a Special Forces medical sergeant, not considering detailed language training. Previously, the Defense Language Institute allocated 63 weeks for the basic course in "hard" language such as Arabic or Korean. Special Forces is experimenting with what can be done in 24 weeks (IIRC the number).

Another controversy, which is discussed extensively in the professional literature on special operations, is what kinds of special operations forces, roles, and missions are most important. This was especially notable when Rumsfeld was SecDef. Special Forces personnel see their greatest contribution in working extensively with foreign troops, leading where needed and generally training and supporting. Quite a few SF personnel were being taken out of those longer-term functions they believed effective, and being reassigned to what they called "door-kicking": direct action raids, special reconnaissance, and some other specialized attacks against terrorists. SF sees the direct combat role as much more the strength of Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. The SF argument is that a country like Iraq or Afghanistan is not going to develop its own capabilities if you take away the trainers.

Diagrams are stylistic. Believe me, I was thoroughly annoyed by the WP demand to slather articles with pictures of neat-o weapons and such, which didn't actually add information. You'll find my web site tends to go more with hyperlinked text, and uses diagrams when they actually add something -- which, with things like navigation systems, clearly are a requirement. I've lectured on this particular subject, and found that these diagrams really helped understand the WWII and immediate postwar transitions -- heck, I have needed my own diagrams to keep track of where all the OSS units went; there was constant reorganization between 1945 and 1952.

CZ, I think, is better about the way it formats thumbnails of graphics than what WP does. I It may be my eyes, but I find, here, that I only really register a graphic if I click on it to enlarge it. I agree they can be terribly intrusive, and often were at WP -- one of the reasons I'm drawing away is too many criticisms of a lack of pictures, without any clear idea of what those pictures add other than that the style guide calls for them. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:59, 17 May 2008 (CDT)