The post-9/11 world has been characterized primarily by civil conflict, terrorism, and various forms of asymmetric conflict, also known as irregular or hybrid warfare.

The same period has also coincided with the dramatic growth of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and special operations, as well as the rethinking of military doctrine regarding counterinsurgency and counterterrorism.

Despite significant activity in this area, governments generally lack adequate mechanisms for evaluating these operations and communicating the lessons learned to other parts of the military, the broader policy community, and allies. 

To fill this gap, CTEC created the Special Operations Research Database (SORD) as a platform to facilitate rigorous third-party research and evaluation, to facilitate student skill development and learning, and to preserve of the experiences and views of those working on the front lines of the global war on extremism.

SORD Goals

  • Understand lessons learned to improve future policy.
  • Develop broader understanding of special operations issues, from public outreach partnerships to intelligence and direct action. 
  • Collect data on micro-level actions that are generally unobserved in traditional security studies data.
  • Help academia move from structural analyses to the study of agency and policy, and more tactical interaction at the local level. 
  • Preserve the experiences of personnel for the historical record.