28 May 1998

Date: Wed, 27 May 1998 15:34:10 -0500
From: "90. USAFnews" <usafnews@AFNEWS.AF.MIL>

980734.  Special operations commander outlines future threats
by Capt. John Paradis
16th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- More Chechnyas.  If a military strategist
needed to look at a good model for the typical future conflict, the war
torn republic of Chechnya comes to mind, said Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker,
U.S. Special Operations Command commander in chief.

Speaking recently to about 2,000 Hurlburt Field troops at the 55th
Aircraft Maintenance Unit hangar, Schoomaker said the only certainty in
the future of warfare is that security challenges will be more ambiguous
and will follow less traditional paths.

Looking at Chechnya as an example of future conflict, confrontation will
likely differ from the more conventional and familiar "total war" by the
inclination of future adversaries to use "psychological terror" and the
influence of international media, the Internet and even cell phones to
employ open brutality as an information warfare tactic.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin, determined to crush the secessionist
drive of the tiny, mainly Muslim southern republic, ordered about 40,000
troops into Chechnya in December 1994.  What was planned as a quick
campaign turned into a long and costly war, in which the outnumbered
rebels time and again dealt heavy blows to a demoralized Russian

It's such "asymmetric" opponents like separatists, rebel groups,
insurgents and terrorists that U.S. special operations forces will need
to prepare for -- enemies who won't attack U.S. strategic strengths, but
will instead target U.S. vulnerabilities by executing unorthodox
measures to gain success, Schoomaker said.

"That's the future.  More Chechnyas," the general said.   "We are going
to see more conflict of this nature because it's a much different world
we're facing."

In his first opportunity to address a large group of Hurlburt Field
airmen, Schoomaker said U.S. special operations forces must remain
operationally "unique and relevant" in order to meet such future

The general's 50-minute slide show presentation provided an overview of
U.S. Special Operations Command, challenges and vision.  As the USSOCOM
commander in chief, Schoomaker is responsible for more than 47,000
special operations people from the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Calling special operations forces "global scouts," the general said he
reviews a weekly list of worldwide SOF deployments.  Last week, SOF
people were in 71 countries.  On average, 5,228 SOF people are deployed
each week, a three-fold increase in missions since 1991.

At one point this past year, SOF people were involved in deployments and
military operations in Albania, Northern Iraq, Cambodia, Sierra Leone,
Liberia, Namibia and the Republic of Congo, Schoomaker said.

Such a demand for SOF by theater commanders and a consistently high
operations tempo continues to provide challenges and pressures, said
Schoomaker, who added that he testified recently before both the House
and Senate Armed Services committees to emphasize the impact increased
deployments will have on SOF people and training.

Still, SOF will remain busier than ever, said the general.  SOF, he
said, must continue to play a leadership role in supporting a national
security strategy of engagement and enlargement.

According to the USSOCOM 1998 Posture Statement, the strategy calls for
U.S. forces to remain engaged abroad while supporting efforts to
"enlarge the community of secure, free-market and democratic nations."

To help shape the international security environment in ways favorable
to U.S. interests, SOF must focus on three elements, Schoomaker said:
shaping, responding and preparing.

Looking back 18 years ago to the aftermath of the Desert One operation
to rescue hostages from Iran and the eventual creation of USSOCOM,
Schoomaker said SOF has come a long way.  But the future, he added,
including new AFSOC weapon systems such as the tilt-rotor CV-22 and the
developmental MC-X, as well as new information-based technologies, would
continue to keep SOF busy and on the cutting edge.

"What we're going to do in the next 18 years compared to the last 18
years will be a cakewalk," he said.  "We're going to be challenged like
we've never been challenged before."