As the US shifts from counterterrorism to strategic competition against state rivals, the role of its special operations forces is also changing. David H Ucko explores the promise and limitations of special operations in this new era, identifying their contribution but also the need for a broader response. Indeed, because strategic competition is primarily non-violent, with instruments of state weaponised to offset military inferiority, an effective response will similarly require a diversification of statecraft away from the military. This requirement poses challenges to an American strategic culture still reliant on armed superiority and, for two decades, direct action by elite forces. His journal article can be accessed here.