Notwithstanding the intent of Goldwater-Nichols, the SOF Reference Manuals, Congressional testimony, special operations forces public affairs comments, numerous articles, commentaries, and the SOF party line and how SOF perceives itself, most inside the SOF community know the reality of the U.S. Special Operations Command-centric counterterrorism focus and the long-term friction with the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC).
This leaves SOF in a precarious position and does not leverage the full capacity and capability of its SOF force structure and people. This opens up the potential for others to determine the future of the SOF organization and structure.
The following are a list of factors that have led to friction and a failure of SOF at the senior levels to fully organize for effectiveness:
The tension between SOCOM and the ASD SO/LIC
SOCOM would not exist without congressional action and Congress has paid close attention to SOF ever since. If ASD SO/LIC and SOCOM do not get their act together in terms of section 922 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act regarding reductions to various DoD headquarters, they are going to have it dictated to them.