Special Forces Missions

Federal Missions

Unconventional Warfare (UW):

A broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations conducted in enemy-held, enemy-controlled or politically sensitive territory. UW includes, but is not limited to, the interrelated fields of guerrilla warfare, evasion and escape, subversion, sabotage, and other operations of a low visibility, covert or clandestine nature.

Afghan CompoundLong-duration, indirect activities including guerrilla warfare and other offensive, low visibility, or clandestine operations.

Mostly conducted by indigenous forces organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by special operations forces.

Direct Action (DA):

Short duration strikes and small scale offensive actions. Overt or covert action against an enemy force to seize, damage, or destroy a target; capture or recover personnel or material in support of strategic/operational objectives or conventional forces.

Special Reconnaissance (SR):

Special Forces teams are infiltrated behind enemy lines to provide the theater commander with intelligence on the enemy or to gather information on the terrain, local populace, etc. of an area. Verify, through observation or other collection methods, information concerning enemy capabilities, intentions, and activities in support of strategic/operational objectives or conventional forces.

Collateral Activities:

  • Security Assistance
  • Humanitarian Assistance
  • Coalition Liaison and Support
  • Counterdrug Activities
  • Personnel Recovery
  • Countermine Activities

State Missions

The RIAT Mission (Rapid Impact Assessment Team)

The Rapid Impact Assessment Team concept was developed by the State of Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. South Florida experienced one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history when Andrew struck on 24 August 1992 and many hard lessons were learned.

Rescue Exercise

The mission of the RIAT Team is to rapidly mobilize and deploy to a disaster area and, jointly with local officials, determine and report immediate victim needs (food, water, shelter, medical, security) and assess and report the associated loss of, or damage to, supporting infrastructure (utilities, communications, transportation, medical facilities, emergency services) following a major or catastrophic disaster.

The RIAT mission is a function of the Florida Department of Emergency Management and is effected by the rapid deployment of Florida National Guard Personnel.

Special Forces Soldiers from 3/20 SFG(A) make up the actual RIAT Teams. Each team member receives specialized training which allows them to successfully perform the RIAT mission in conjunction with local officials.

The ability of SF personnel to rapidly deploy by aircraft or other means is the key to accomplishing the RIAT mission. SF personnel employ high frequency and satellite communication devices to establish and maintain communication during the mission. This allows the rapid “real time” reporting of on the ground conditions at the disaster or emergency site.

This capability allows the state emergency management officials to quickly deploy all needed assistance without wasting resources.

The RIAT mission is a perfect example of the effective use of Special Forces capabilities. The State of Florida, the Florida National Guard, and 3/20 SFG(A) have set a new standard in disaster response.

Disaster Relief and State Emergency Activation:

National Guard Special Forces units are routinely placed on State Active Duty by order of their respective state Governor. These activations take place during times of state emergencies such as; hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, riots, civil unrest, etc.