The present work deals with the role of military Special Forces in intelligence. Special Forces are involved in the data’s collection phase of the intelligence cycle, since they have advanced operative power. The current article is a brief analysis based on a short talk given during a Summer School on Intelligence Studies at King’s College London. Therefore, we aim to give just a partial introduction and not to present an extensive discussion. The paper offers a scientific and descriptive view, and it does not address evaluative or ethical issues.
The following analysis is based on some recent wars cases, such as the Iraq or the Afghanistan ones, in which United States deployed special corps with clear intelligence-oriented tasks. First, we will consider what Special Forces (Spec-Forces) usually do or what people think they are doing. Second, we will show what their role in the intelligence cycle is, and how they act within a specific tactical process. Third, we will address some benefits and problems with respect to the recruitment of military Spec-Forces personnel for intelligence activities.