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Interview with Brig. Gen. Darsie Rogers, USA

Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Forces Command and Regiment

Brig. Gen. Darsie D. Rogers, Jr. was commissioned a second lieutenant from Auburn University in 1987. Following his initial assignment to the 24th Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., he completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and was awarded the Green Beret.

Rogers has commanded Army and Special Operations Forces at every level, from second lieutenant to his current rank. Notable assignments include the Joint Staff, the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., and commander of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He has participated in numerous contingency and combat operations including Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, and five deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, where he commanded Army, Air Force and naval special operations forces. He served as the deputy commanding general for support, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colo., and most recently, served as the deputy commanding general for United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). The general took time out of his schedule to respond to a few questions from Senior Editor John D. Gresham for The Year in Special Operations, but only a small part of it could be printed in the space available. It is now published here in its entirety.

  The rate of change across USASOC since my arrival has been significant. I applaud our commanders for their agility and vision as we shape our force to face the uncertainty ahead and offer solutions to the nation’s most difficult and sensitive problems.

John D. Gresham: You certainly have been busy since your arrival here at USASOC, first as deputy commanding general, and now commander of U.S. Army Special Forces Command [USASFC] and the regiment. Has it all been something of a blur? And what does it mean to you personally now to command the Green Berets?

Brig. Gen. Darsie Rogers: The rate of change across USASOC since my arrival has been significant. I applaud our commanders for their agility and vision as we shape our force to face the uncertainty ahead and offer solutions to the nation’s most difficult and sensitive problems.

Global SOF Network

American and Estonian special operations forces conduct an air infiltration in an undisclosed location in Estonia, May 12, 2014. The American and Estonian special operations forces were aking part in Exercise Spring Storm 2014, an annual training event that has evolved into the largest field training exercise in the Baltic states. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Timothy Clegg

Of course this is a dream job – to lead our Army’s Special Forces. Every day thousands of our soldiers are deployed around the globe in support of our nation’s ambassadors and combatant commands. I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments or more honored to be their commander.

 

What is the current status of USASFC and the regiment? Are you able to sustain the necessary numbers of USASFC soldiers to keep them credible and fully engaged?

As a regiment and command, we are prepared to assume any mission or engage emerging threats presented to us.

As a regiment and command, we are prepared to assume any mission or engage emerging threats presented to us. The Special Forces are a force unlike any other in our military; how we train, organize, equip, resource, and ready our force has been tested, modified and validated time and again through 12 years of sustained combat operations and increased operations through the Global SOF Network. We persistently re-evaluate how we train and prepare this force in order to ensure Special Forces soldiers are not only trained to address the current threat, but also adaptable, knowledgeable and capable of meeting future challenges.

 

Would you care to comment on the current numbers and quality of Special Forces soldiers being selected, qualified, trained, and delivered to your command by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School (USAJFKSWCS)? Is there anything you would you like to add to the process of creating those Special Forces soldiers, based upon experience of the past dozen years?

U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School (USAJFKSWCS)

Noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center & School (USAJFKSWCS) are honored for their achievements in this year’s Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition, Fort Bragg, N.C., May 9, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shelman Spencer

I have full confidence in the selection and training provided by USAJFKSWCS. The training that Special Forces soldiers receive at USAJFKSWCS is just the start of what it means to be a Special Forces soldier. It is a strenuous, taxing, mentally challenging and professional start to becoming an experienced Special Forces soldier; however, it is also just the beginning. Receiving the award of the Special Forces Tab and Green Beret is a momentous achievement, and the training continues once each soldier reaches a special forces group and is assigned to a team – Operational Detachments-Alpha [ODA].

Once at a group, it is each Special Forces soldier’s task to use what they have achieved and become a skilled special warfare soldier, proficient in the skills that are critical to accomplishing their mission in hostile and austere environments. It is our task to provide the programs, training, environment and resources to achieve that level of skill. We do this in a number of ways; even the structure of an ODA is set up to ensure knowledge and experience is shared throughout the team.

I stated previously that we consistently review and assess the efficacy of our training programs.

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John D. Gresham lives in Fairfax, Va. He is an author, researcher, game designer, photographer,...