The increasing prominence of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in American pop culture and politics, and the implications for civil-military relations, are explored in Edward Salo’s article. He addresses the question of why being a part of SOF equates to expertise in political or cultural issues and raises concerns about an evolving culture of militarism that may potentially harm the relationship between the military and civilian society.
- There has been a significant rise in the representation of SOF members in media, with many becoming subjects of TV shows, movies, and books. This has changed their perception from “quiet professionals” to celebrity-like figures in popular culture.
- The image of SOF has been increasingly used by politicians to endorse political agendas, while the media often presents these elite units as the primary representation of the US military.
- There’s a growing concern that the public’s trust in former SOF members’ opinions on non-military topics, like policy or governance, might not be merited and could potentially skew civil-military relations.
- Some members of the SOF community have criticized the rise of self-promotion within their ranks, stating it may impact national security and undermine healthy civil-military relations.
- A solution might be to reinstate the culture of quiet professionalism within the SOF community by collaborating with media figures, conducting academic studies on SOF representation, and ensuring a nonpartisan portrayal of the military in pop culture.