News | Oct. 15, 2023

Ten Surprising Lessons For Special Operations Forces From The First 20 Months Of Putin’s Full-Scale Invasion Of Ukraine

By Dr. Christopher Marsh Article

Published on InterPopulum, this article provides ten surprising lessons for Special Operations Forces (SOF) from the first year-and-a-half of Russia’s criminal and ill-advised full-scale invasion of Ukraine. These lessons range from the tactical to the grand strategic, and collectively help explain how Ukraine and NATO managed to “boil Putin’s frog” in the years between 2014 and 2022. This strategic success does not change the fact that tragic mistakes have been made and that SOF continue to be misused despite all the efforts to learn from previous misuse of SOF and prevent the repeat of earlier mistakes. These lessons also explain why, paradoxically, the largest conventional war in Europe since 1945 has made future large-scale combat operations by conventional forces less likely and gray zone operations by SOF more strategically relevant than ever before.