The U.S. launched Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 with significant contributions from Army Special Operations Forces, leading to the victory over Iraqi armed forces, the lengthy counterinsurgency mission, and enhancing ARSOF’s force structure.
On March 20, 2003, the U.S.-led coalition launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power, marking the second major military operation of the war on terrorism. The Army Special Operations Forces played a significant role in the victory over the Iraqi armed forces and the lengthy counterinsurgency mission that followed. The operation began with Army Special Forces infiltrating Iraq in advance of the main assault, and the 5th SFG forming the core of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – West. Tactical PSYOP teams and various Army Reserve PSYOP companies advanced into Iraq alongside their supported units, both SOF and conventional. The successful counterinsurgency strategy during the Surge period (2007-2008) proved successful, and by 2009, the situation in Iraq was stable and promising. ARSOF’s lengthy experience in OIF continues to benefit it today, with veterans occupying many key leadership positions within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.