Where did U.S. special operations forces come from? The answer, as with any major organizational entity, is complicated. The general want for special forces stems from a desire to concentrate and leverage high human capital- both in training and selection- for the accomplishment of specific, extremely difficult military tasks.
But as discussed in Mark Moyar’s new book, Oppose Any Foe, U.S. special operations emerged through a complicated process of inter- and intra-organizational dispute, waged over the course of several decades. Indeed, Moyar’s account makes clear that much of the history of the development of U.S. special operations forces is the story of their use in East Asia. Many of the foundations of modern special operations forces were laid in the Asia, whether in the Pacific theater or China theaters of World War II, or in the mountains of Korea, or the jungles of Vietnam.