Sunday, April 4, 2010

Special Forces Doctrine and The Cathecism

U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) perform five doctrinal missions across all stages of the operational continuum: peacetime, conflict and war. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives Catholics a framework or doctrine with which to operate across their own personal operational continuums. It is doctrine that is essential if the Special Forces are to remain a cohesive and effective fighting force. It is the Catechism that allows us as Catholics to remain a cohesive and effective church.
Foreign Internal Defense
The primary Special Forces mission during Foreign Internal Defense (FID) is to organize, train, advise, and assist Host Nation military and paramilitary forces. To accomplish this mission Special Forces units participate in several kinds of operations under the FID umbrella. These operations include but are not limited to training assistance, advisory assistance, intelligence operations, psychological operations, civil-military operations, populace and resources control, and tactical operations (FM 31-20). Special Forces soldiers utilize familiarity with host nation language and cross cultural communication techniques to leave Host Nation Forces better than they found them.
The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church’s mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians (Catechism 2044). The Catechism calls us to mount our own sort of internal defense to secular society. By constantly striving to attain the perfection of Christian living all the while realizing that it is only by God’s grace that anything is achieved Catholic’s can defend against the encroachment of secularization. It is by our constant example and the grace of a loving God that we can leave our own family, co-workers, or church better than we found them.
Special Reconnaissance
Special Reconnaissance (SR) operations encompass a broad range of intelligence gathering activities, to include reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (FM 31-20). Special Forces soldiers conduct SR operations far behind enemy lines in areas denied conventional forces. The human intelligence (HUMINT) and to a lesser extent the signals intelligence (SIGINT) they gather conducting SR is often invaluable to the development of the overall strategic plan.
Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves as obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law (Catechism 2222). As a parent especially a parent of teenagers we must often feel as if we are behind enemy lines as well. How can we relate to these familiar strangers and educate them so as to fulfill God’s law? How can we hope to educate them when we often struggle to educate ourselves on what is needed to fulfill the law? To educate our children, we as parents need to employ the reconnaissance techniques used by Special Forces. We need to gather human intelligence indicators and use them to develop our overall strategic plan. In a nutshell we need to listen to our children’s concerns, their hopes, and their interests all the while utilizing these indicators to guide them down the path to a good Catholic lifestyle.
Direct Action
Direct Action operations are combat operations conducted beyond the range of tactical weapons systems or the area of influence of conventional military forces (Fm 31-20). Special Forces units conduct direct action missions for a variety of reasons they may be rescuing a downed pilot by conducting a combat search and rescue mission. They may conduct an ambush or raid unilaterally so as to bring increased credibility to the host nation or guerilla forces that they are embedded with. They may be conducting terminal guidance for precision guided munitions. All of these scenarios require “boots on the ground.”
Working together, each in its own way, under the action of one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls (Catechism 95). Boots on the ground is exactly what the Catholic Church needs as we head deeper into the new century and the Church is attacked on every side by the forces of secularization. Individual Catholics need to get more involved in their parish. By becoming an active member of your parish family just like Special Forces soldiers you can become a force multiplier for good. As you become more involved whether it be volunteering to serve as an usher, catechist, choir member, lector, Eucharistic minister or perhaps as a member of a parish committee or group you will find yourself being drawn closer to Christ. As the number of Priests continues to decline we as Catholics must become that force multiplier so as to allow those in Holy Orders to accomplish their mission of continuing Christ’s church here on earth.
Counter Terrorism
For Special Forces soldiers Counter Terrorism is a primary mission only for designated and specially organized, trained and equipped Special Forces Units. These units are the best of the best. Unlike other Special Forces units those designated to conduct counter terrorism as their primary mission have no geographical or regional focus. These units conduct their primary mission mostly without outside distracters and on a global stage.
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry (Catechism 1536). Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are the counter terrorism experts of the Church. As the Church’s specially organized and trained force we need to ensure that they are properly equipped to counter the forces of evil and sin in their Parish or Diocese. As members of the body of the Universal Church we can support and equip those in holy orders by following the catechism to the best of our ability. Do not present yourself to receive the Holy Eucharist if you find yourself in a state of sin. Attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, tithe to your parish through your time and talent, support the retired religious, this is how we can equip them in their fight against sin.
Unconventional Warfare
Unconventional Warfare is the most challenging of all Special Forces missions because it involves protracted operations with indigenous forces in denied territory. Building rapport with and adapting to the ways of the indigenous resistance organization requires carefully planned and executed actions (Fm 31-20). Special Forces operators must become thoroughly trusted and embedded with their indigenous counter parts to make Unconventional Warfare operation work. They must lead from within while still allowing their counterparts to take charge and conduct the mission to the best of their abilities.
The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is missionary of her very nature (Catechism 868). As Catholics we are called to the evangelical nature of the Church. Being evangelical is not always an overt action much like Unconventional Warfare it can be somewhat covert as well. It is the subtle things that anyone can do that add up to the fullness of evangelization. Do you live your life as an example of Christian goodness? Do you strive to be an example to others by doing what is right even when no one is watching? At your place of employment while not pushing your opinions on other are you open and honest about your faith? Doing any or all of these things and more can help the Church win converts. While out among secular society (indigenous people) we are called to be examples of our faith, it is unknown what small act of Christian charity or what example will bring someone to Christ through God’s grace.

Prayer For Help Against Spiritual Enemies Glorious Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who stands always ready to give assistance to the people of God; who fought with the dragon, the old serpent, and cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defends the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat you to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I sustain against the same formidable foe. Be with me, O mighty Prince! that I may courageously fight and vanquish that proud spirit, whom you, by the Divine Power, gloriously overthrew, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, completely overcome; so having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with you and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.

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