Perilous Options: Special Operations as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy

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9780195045918: Perilous Options: Special Operations as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy
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In the past three decades, the United States government has used special operations repeatedly in an effort to achieve key foreign policy objectives, such as in the overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba and the rescuing of American hostages in Iran. Many of these secret missions carried out by highly trained commando forces have failed. In Perilous Options, Lucien Vandenbroucke examines the use and misuse of such special operations through an in-depth analysis of four operations--the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Sontay raid to rescue POWs in North Vietnam, the Mayaguez operation, and the Iran hostage rescue mission.

Drawing extensively on declassified government documents, interviews with key decision makers and participants in these episodes, and other primary material, Perilous Options identifies recurrent problems in the way the United States government has prepared and executed such operations. These recurrent problems, outlined by key participants in these four special operations, include faulty intelligence, poor interagency and interservice cooperation and coordination, inadequate information and advice provided to decisionmakers, wishful thinking on the part of decisionmakers, and overcontrol of mission execution from outside the theater of operations. Vandenbroucke also explores the extent to which recent efforts to revitalize the U.S. operations capability have addressed these problems, identifying additional changes that can improve the government's ability to plan, evaluate, and execute such operations.

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Throughout the history of warfare, small battalions of warriors have repeatedly conducted sudden strikes on enemies deep within enemy lines with limited resources. These strikes rely largely on surprise, speed, and maneuver to defeat an often numerically superior enemy. In the past three decades, the United States has repeatedly used such special operations in an effort to achieve key foreign policy objectives. Many of these operations carried out by highly trained commando forces have failed. In Perilous Options: Special Operations as an Instrument of U.S. Foreign Policy, Lucien Vandenbroucke examines the use and misuse of special operations through an in-depth analysis of four operations - the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Sontay raid to rescue POWs in North Vietnam, the Mayaquez operation, and the Iran hostage rescue mission. He identifies recurrent problems in the way the United States government has prepared and executed such operations that account for their poor outcomes. These include faulty intelligence, poor interagency and interservice cooperation and coordination, inadequate information and advice provided to decisionmakers, wishful thinking on the part of decisionmakers, and micromanagement from outside the theater of operations. In addition to identifying the recurrent problems that have plagued U.S. special operations in the past. Vandenbroucke explores the extent to which recent efforts to revitalize the U.S. operations capability have addressed these problems, identifying additional changes that can improve the government's ability to plan, evaluate, and execute such operations. Drawing extensively on recently declassified government documents, interviews with keydecisionmakers and participants, and other primary material, Perilous Options is the first systematic in-depth analysis of the way the United States plans and executes strategic special operations. This-original analysis will be essential reading for scholars and students of United States foreign policy, contemporary diplomatic history, and political science.

About the Author:


Lucien S. Vandenbroucke is a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State. He is a former Brookings Institution Research Fellow.

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1993. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In the past three decades, the United States government has used special operations repeatedly in an effort to achieve key foreign policy objectives, such as in the overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba and the rescuing of American hostages in Iran. Many of these secret missions carried out by highly trained commando forces have failed. In Perilous Options, Lucien Vandenbroucke examines the use and misuse of such special operations through an in-depth analysisof four operations-the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Sontay raid to rescue P.O.W.s in North Vietnam, the Mayaguez operation, and the Iran hostage rescue mission. Drawing extensively on declassified government documents, interviews with key decision makers and participants in these episodes, and other primary material, Perilous Options identifies recurrent problems in the way the United States government has prepared and executed such operations. These recurrent problems, outlined by key participants in these four special operations, include faulty intelligence, poor interagency and interservice cooperation and coordination, inadequateinformation and advice provided to decisionmakers, wishful thinking on the part of decisionmakers, and overcontrol of mission execution from outside the theater of operations. Vandenbroucke also explores the extent to which recent efforts to revitalize the U.S. operations capability have addressed these problems,identifying additional changes that can improve the government's ability to plan, evaluate, and execute such operations. Seller Inventory # LHB9780195045918

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