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  • 1.
    Finlan, Alastair
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Joint Warfare Division, Joint Operations Section.
    A dangerous pathway? Toward a theory of special forces2019In: Comparative Strategy, ISSN 0149-5933, Vol. 38, no 4, p. 255-275Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores what is considered by some to be a dangerous pathway:the development of a theory of special forces. The world is now inthe third age of special forces and these secret military units are atthe forefront of the use of force in international relations. This research identifies a large theory-knowledge gap concerning these military “first responders” for modern nation-states and offers a tentative theory of special forces that goes beyond traditional annihilation/attrition models of wartoward a new anaphylaxis model. It makes the case that the theory pathwayis not dangerous, but emancipatory.

  • 2.
    Finlan, Alastair
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Joint Warfare Division, Joint Operations Section.
    Special Forces: Leadership, Processes and the British Special Air Service (SAS)2017In: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Special Operations Forces / [ed] Gitte Højstrup Christensen, Copenhagen: Royal Danish Defence College Publishing House, 2017, 1, p. 74-87Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper addresses the research question of what kind of leadership, processes, and work climate best support employee-driven/bottom-up innovation in SOF. It starts with the suggestion that the term, Special Operations Forces (SOF), needs to be intellectually unpacked and its diverse elements (of which Special Forces are just one part) disaggregated in order to elicit definitional clarity. From this conceptual starting point, it becomes immediately clear that Special Forces represent the ‘special’ component in the SOF designation. This research contends they are a new type of soldier (and a product of modern warfare) that is defined by differentness in relation to conventional forces and activities within a battlespace, working in traditionally restricted areas. David Stirling, one of the founders of the famed British Special Air Service (SAS), is highlighted as an exemplar of the sort of leadership that provoked rare operational level effects. The paper also suggests that unorthodox forces operating in a unique operational environment demand unusual personality types and atypical command/control processes encapsulated by the so-called ‘Chinese Parliament’ that emerged in the SAS.

  • 3.
    Finlan, Alastair
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Joint Warfare Division, Joint Operations Section.
    Special Operations in Contemporary Warfare: Challenges and Opportunities2017In: Tidskrift i Sjöväsendet, ISSN 0040-6945, no 2, p. 168-174Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study suggests that the world is now in a third age of Special Forces and one that in all likelihood will witness an increasing utility of these unusual military units in orthodox and unorthodox warfare in international relations.

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