Lieutenant Colonel Kent G. Solheim has been the Commander of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) since June 2016. He has served in a variety of roles within the Special Forces community, deploying numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, Lieutenant Colonel Solheim served as the Special Operations Command Forward North and West Africa Deputy Commanding Officer, and the Commander of the Special Operations Command and Control Element for SOF units in North and West Africa. From 2014 to 2016, he was assigned to the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.
CTC: You have now fought in three very distinct conflict zones: Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan. What are some of the common challenges that you have encountered in each of these areas? What have been some of the biggest differences?
Solheim: There are certainly commonalities in the challenges that are woven in each of these conflict zones. First, each of these zones are faced with an asymmetric and adapting threat that loosely share ideological banners. Second, the internal conditions in these places help to empower sub-state actors. Governments generally lack the ability to care for the basic needs of the populations they are governing, and governments do not control portions of their territories.