Special operations forces used to be small not-well-known units, with not-always-well-trusted men. The ”War on Terror” changed things. While armed forces in most NATO countries and Western democracies have downsized over the past decades, special operations communities have, in contrast, grown tremendously in size, resources, influence, and status. They have gone from being “matter out of place” during the Cold War, to becoming “forces of choice” in the global era. Today, special operations units have, globally, a privileged place close to powerful stakeholders and resources.
Many are fascinated by the secret, hidden world of special operations forces: their culture, their stories and adventures, what they do, how they do it, and what doing it does to them. These units can legally hide behind a veil of secrecy, and few outsiders are allowed inside to do any kind of long-term research or quality check. There is very little rigorous and comparative research on these units or access to sufficient sources and reference material.