January 27, 2009
FM 3-05.201: Special Forces Unconventional Warfare Operations is current US military doctrine (policy) on the use of indigenous or surrogate forces to overthrow a foreign government and the use of sabotage, subversion, intelligence, extra-territorial abductions and similar activities, the most well known example of which is the US involvement in Nicaragua. There is also a section on legalities, including abductions ("The United States reserves the right to engage in nonconsensual abductions for three specific reasons.."). The 296 page manual was made doctrine in April 2003 by Army Headquarters, Washington DC.
FM 3-05.20 defines UW as a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations, predominantly conducted through, with, or by indigenous or surrogate forces organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. UW includes, but is not limited to, guerrilla warfare (GW), sabotage, subversion, intelligence activities, and unconventional assisted recovery (UAR).
1-43. There are seven phases to a U.S.-sponsored insurgency (Figure 1-1, page 1-12). They are preparation, initial contact, infiltration, organization, buildup, combat employment, and demobilization. Although each insurgency is unique, U.S. sponsorship of a resistance organization generally passes through the seven phases.
1-3. Guerrilla warfare consists of military and paramilitary operations conducted by irregular, predominantly indigenous forces against superior forces in enemy-held or hostile territory. It is the overt military aspect of an insurgency.
1-4. Sabotage is an act or acts with intent to injure or obstruct the national defense of a nation by willfully damaging or destroying any national defense or war materiel, premises, or utilities, including human and natural resources. It may also refer to actions taken to injure or obstruct the military capability of an occupying power. Sabotage may be the most effective or the only means of attacking specific targets beyond the capabilities of conventional weapon systems. Sabotage selectively disrupts, destroys, or neutralizes hostile capabilities with a minimum of manpower and material resources. SF conducts sabotage unilaterally through indigenous or surrogate personnel. Sabotage is also a form of effects-based targeting performed by SF personnel.
1-5. Subversion is any action designed to undermine the military, economic, psychological, or political strength or morale of a regime. All elements of the resistance organization contribute to the subversive effort, but the clandestine nature of subversion dictates that the underground will do the bulk of the activity. Subversion is a form of effects-based targeting on human terrain.
1-9. UW has taken on new significance for several reasons. Historically, SF units have focused on UW as a part of general war. Now, the U.S. policy of supporting selected resistance movements requires SF to focus on UW during conflicts short of war. Also, global urbanization provides for a shift in emphasis from rural guerrilla warfare to all aspects of clandestine resistance including urban and border operations. Training and support for these operations may come from the joint special operations area (JSOA) or from an external training or support site. Some scenarios may dictate a traditional role reversal--the urban guerrilla may conduct most of the operations while supported by the rural guerrilla.
1-10. UW is the most challenging of SF missions because it involves protracted operations with joint forces, allied forces, indigenous or surrogate forces, U.S. agencies, or elements of all of these entities. UW involves detailed, centralized planning and coordination from the SFODA through the Secretary of Defense, and ultimately, decentralized execution.
Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies only to protect technical or operational information from automatic dissemination under the International Exchange Program or by other means. This determination was made on 15 March 2003. Other requests for this document must be referred to Commander, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, ATTN: AOJK-DT-SFD, Fort Bragg, North Carolina 28310-5000. DESTRUCTION NOTICE: Destroy by any method that must prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.
See Counterinsurgency for additional information.