Small Wars Journal

Covert Operations and Policy

Covert Operations and Policy

by Adam Elkus

Infinity Journal

Nonstop covert operations against America’s enemies occur simultaneously in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. But as the counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan give way to a worldwide shadow conflict, popular discussion of covert operations erroneously assume that these discrete capabilities are largely without precedent. Perhaps more perniciously, covert operations are often equated with direct action—the capture and killing of terrorists and insurgents. But covert operations are more than simply direct action writ large, and they have a distinguished historical pedigree. While daring exploits make the news, they also obscure the utility and limitations of covert action as a tool of policy.


White Rabbit

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 7:17am

I just stumbled on Adam's article abstract while researching an article he authored.

Vol. 3 of 'Strategic Intelligence' published by Praeger Security International is of particular interest as it covers covert actions/operations well beyond the realm of DAs.

In terms of limitations especially, John D. Stempel 'Covert Action and Diplomacy' (which is included in the aforementioned publication) is an excellent read.

If you can put your hands on either of them, it'll be worth your time.