- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Best Defense is on summer hiatus. During this restful spell we offer re-runs from the past 12 months. This item originally ran on April 5.
Yet I also hear some of those commanders — especially at the battalion and brigade level — complain about special operators busting into their space without adequate coordination, conducting a raid, and giving high fives all around without regard to the consequences.
If you really “owned” the battle space — that is, held sovereignty — wouldn’t Special Ops have to get your permission to operate in it? This may seem a petulant or trivial question, but I think the phrase reflects sloppy thinking, which can lead to confusion and problems. Precision in speech is one way to reduce the friction of war. (And yes, the English/literature departments at military academies should feel free to borrow that last sentence.)
Photo credit: PARIS CAPERS/Flickr/U.S. Marine Corps