CONTRACTED PARAMILITARY & CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS
SHADOWS PROTECTING THE LIGHT
SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP
The Intelligence Community has numerous Special Operations Groups; they all operate in some sort of covert, clandestine, or tactical capability, but each has its unique capabilities and directives. In general, they are only used as a last resort when diplomacy and mainstream intelligence action fail. Before examining what SOG is, let us examine what it is not:
There's a misconception that the Special Operations Group and "special forces" are the same. They are not. There is a great deal of difference between them and they cannot be interchanged. The US Army Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets) are the only Special Forces. The Special Operations Forces, which are several special units operating within the four branches of the military, are also misidentified. Among them are the US Navy Seals, U.S. Air Force TACP & Pararescue, the U.S. Army Rangers, and Marine Raiders, et al. Tucker Global contracts with the military, but not as a joint service provider for the SOF.
Whenever a contract calls for it, however, TGI's Special Operations Group subcontracts with Special Forces members, both active and retired. Tucker Global contractors are a combination of paramilitary officers and clandestine operators, which makes them a rare and formidable group whose services are often required. As with Clandestine Services, these contractors work anonymously, known only by their call signs or code names. Any of the conventional intelligence components may employ Tucker Global officers as either support or autonomous operators, thereby filling the need for highly trained, covert specialists with:
SOG - Office of the Inspector General
SOG - U.S. Marshals Service
DEA's Special Operations Division
SOG, U.S. Air Force
The Special Operations Team of the Attorney General
SOG - Special Activities Center of the Central Intelligence Agency
In the world of private security, contracted paramilitary officers are considered the pinnacle of the profession. They work privately on government contracts as independent soldiers. Some people refer to them as mercenaries, but that is not entirely accurate. TGI field personnel are prohibited from accepting contracts from anyone or any agency outside the United States government. This is the primary difference between Tucker Global Special Operations Group and others. It is imperative that contracts have global relevance for all humanity, not just one nation. Our internal and external oversight ensures that no contractor violates that agreement and remains true to the established mission statement and code of honor. Compensation is the main cause of backlash within the mainstream military community. Although private security specialists are well paid, their salaries are commensurate with the risk they face. The government only uses contractors for certain tasks when government personnel are unable to complete them. This is either because of an excessive threat assessment rating or because the chance of success is low, or both. As far as the US Military is concerned, there are limits to what is acceptable risk and justifiable loss. The majority of the contracts granted to TGI have zero chance of success on paper when following established policy parameters. Military operations can be hindered by laws, regulations, and codes. When it comes to special intelligence contractors, these things do not apply. SOG operators technically do not violate the law because some laws no longer apply to them. The difference is subtle. A handful of countries in the Global Intelligence Network have granted governmental immunity to TGI contractors so officers can never be charged for "crimes" committed while in pursuit of a contract objective. It does not mean paramilitary contractors can do whatever they please off-task. Integrity is a highly sought-after attribute when recruiting officers.
SOLDIERS AS SPIES: HISTORY
SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and the CIA persuaded Congress to approve the merger of two of their networks in order to collaborate on operations and share personnel and other resources. It is a process that began during World War II and has never completely stopped, despite a few roadblocks and administration changes. By the time September 11, 2001 rolled around the CIA was routinely requesting Special Forces operators to work directly for them, a custom that goes back to the 1950's with the US Army Special Forces.
Over the past decade, SOCOM (which controls the Special Forces, U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Air Force special operations aircraft) has increasingly become a competitor of the CIA in producing quality intelligence. The Department of Defense now allows Special Forces to train for plain clothes and uniformed espionage work abroad. Unofficially, the Special Forces have been doing this sort of thing for decades, sometimes at CIA's request. In 1986, the Special Forces even established an "intelligence operations" school to train soldiers in how to run espionage operations abroad. This involves recruiting local spies, agents, and informants and supervising them.
As a matter of law, all overseas espionage operations are under the control of the CIA. However, both the CIA and Special Forces were founded by veterans of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) during World War II, and their relationship continued after they retired from the CIA or Special Forces.
For espionage, the army wants to use Special Forces troops aggressively so the "battlefield" can be prepared sooner. It is essential to do this so that terrorist organizations can be effectively tracked down. Currently, Special Forces A-Teams rely on the CIA for espionage work in advance of their arrival. There are often Special Forces troops and CIA personnel present, doing the advance work of figuring out who is who, where things are, and, in particular, who can be relied upon to help the Americans. Due to its lack of personnel, the CIA has not made a big deal about this Department of Defense initiative. A major source of new CIA agents has long been former or retired Special Forces personnel. Due to the new espionage training Special Forces troops are getting, the CIA can hire these guys later and put them to work without having to train them extensively. Additionally, SOCOM is believed to be hiring retired CIA personnel to help run its intelligence operations.
CIA Special Operations Group was reborn in 1998, reviving a name it created in the early 1960s. The original SOG (which eventually had its name changed to "Studies and Observation Group" for security reasons) used CIA personnel, Special Forces troops, and local tribesmen to run intelligence patrols into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam during the early days of the Vietnam war. This has actually been done by the CIA since the late 1950s. But once SOG was established, the CIA handed it over to the Special Forces who continued to run their own SOG missions until bad publicity and Congressional hostility brought the organization to an end in 1990.
So, as the Cold War ended, the CIA got out of the daredevil fieldwork business. As with the original SOG, the 1998 SOG was designed to go into hostile territory and gather information in any way possible. There are only a few hundred agents in the reformed SOG. There is a preference for Special Forces, SEALs, Air Force paracommandos, and marines with interesting service records. A few of the SOGs are retired military with at least twenty years of experience. Five years of military experience are the minimum requirements. There is a one-year training course and a starting salary of $50,000 a year.
While the CIA recruited military personnel for field operations, the Department of Defense set up an espionage service that duplicated much of what the CIA does. This is partly due to dissatisfaction with the CIA's inability to provide timely intelligence to the military. In many cases, these lapses have come to light after the fact, and the generals have not forgotten them. When SOCOM was set up in the 1980s, a major capability it acquired was the thousands of Special Forces troops who spent several months to a year overseas working with foreign armies. It has always been recognized as an excellent method of collecting quality intelligence, and even the CIA relied on this source of data to keep up with the latest developments. It was for this reason that the CIA revived its Special Operations Group. This growing duplication may seem inefficient, but it also provides competition. If the president is not satisfied with the CIA's performance, he can ask SOCOM to investigate. Everyone stays on their toes this way. So to speak, there is competition in the shadows. If passed, the new law would formally recognize a lot of cooperation that has been going on for more than half a century.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP
in the mainstream intelligence community.
The Central Intelligence Agency's SOG defines black-level covert and clandestine activity. Surreptitiously classified under the former Special Activities Division (SAD), now known as the Special Activities Center, the CIA's Special Operations Group operates with little interference from the mainstream Intelligence Community. They are responsible for covert operations classified as either tactical paramilitary operations or covert political action. In either circumstance, they are responsible for executing high-threat military and covert operations for which the US government would overtly be disassociated. Because of this need for anonymity, SOG's Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers are predominantly independent defense contractors working under a non-official cover (NOC) and are the exception to the operational standards and policies of the mainstream Intelligence Community. They are granted government immunity which allows them to pursue avenues other officers cannot -- often acting above the law to obtain their mission objectives. While many find this unconstitutional and even criminal, it has been proven to be a necessary evil to protect the innocent.
The Special Operations Group is considered one of the most covert special operations forces in the United States. The group selects field support officers from other conventional special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU, ISA, and 24th STS, and other United States special operations forces. For covert actions, only the best are considered. Only the best will survive.
Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during conflicts or incidents which elicited CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the stars displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.
The Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations, and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has added cyber-warfare to their mission. Tactical units within SAD are also capable of carrying out covert political action while deployed in hostile and austere environments. A large covert operation typically has components that involve many or all of these categories as well as paramilitary operations.
Political and "influence" covert operations are used to support US foreign policy. Overt support for one element of an insurgency would often be counterproductive due to the impression it would potentially exert on the local population. In such cases covert assistance allows the US to assist without damaging these elements in the process.