The US special-operations community has become one of the most capable in the world, thanks in part to lessons learned from past missions like the 1983 invasion of Grenada, dubbed Operation Urgent Fury. This mission was marked by poor coordination and conflicting commands, which ultimately led to significant reorganization within the US special-operations forces.
- Operation Eagle Claw, a failed mission to rescue US hostages in Tehran in 1980, highlighted the need for better organization within special-operations forces. This led to the creation of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in December 1980.
- Operation Urgent Fury, the US military intervention in Grenada in 1983, was fraught with difficulties due to conflicting priorities, poor intelligence, and poor inter-unit cooperation. The operation was almost a disaster but ultimately resulted in necessary changes.
- The challenges encountered during Operation Urgent Fury led to the creation of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in 1987. SOCOM was designed to better unite and manage the various special-operations units within the military.
- The first significant test for SOCOM was Operation Prime Chance in 1987, a mission to protect oil tankers in the Persian Gulf from Iranian forces. The operation was a success and proved that different special-operations units could work together effectively.
- The difficulties and lessons learned from these operations have contributed to the US special-operations community becoming one of the most capable in the world today.