The Deep deveolpment Capability.

The Deep Development Capability aims to create a deep understanding of a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous and turbulent environment,from a Human Domain centric perspective, with as a sole purpose to generate effects for SOF.

The Special Forces Group is the tool of choice for special operations and special warfare in volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and turbulent (VUCAT) environments. This utility of force requires high but essential standards for its personnel: in-depth knowledge of all domains of which the environment consists, highly developed skills allowing to operate effectively in this environment and, not the least, specific yet rare combinations of qualities (such as creativity, problem solving awareness, curiosity, stamina and perseverance).

Special Warfare in the VUCAT environments and conflicts of today and tomorrow demand a Human Domain centric perspective, effective strategies and specialized SOF enabling capabilities. The strategies applied in special warfare require a thorough understanding of the deep core, underlying structures of the comprehensive Human Domain (HD). This understanding requires specific knowledge, skills and attitudes; and calls for a suitable capability to enable and reinforce deployed SF-teams: the Deep Development Capability (DDC).

By definition, Specials Operations Forces (SOF) enabling capabilities need a diverse composition to interact in the most productive way with the local environment and thus be able to truly navigate and understand the Human Domain (HD). We start from the premise that diversity improves the efficiency of a team, which allows for a broad access of all segments of the Human Domain (i.e. population, social groups, stakeholders and interests groups). Different ways of thinking and of apprehending situations is in this capability an important plus value.

In order to achieve this, it is critical that the Deep Development Capability is constituted with a high degree of diversity. This highly needed diversity naturally implies the right balance with regards to sex, age, race, social and cultural background, religion, language, etc. All DDC members execute the same tasks: mission analysis, research, environmental and data analysis, key leader and tribal engagements, human network development, synthesis and influence activities in order to obtain desired effects in line with the mission objectives. DDC operates both operate in a reach back capacity as well as deployed in the VUCAT environments.

Operation New Nero (ONN) started off as a Military Assistance initiative to find ways that would allow us to generate resilience in Niger. The first two months of the mission was de facto a period of ‘pre-conflict sensing’ allowing SF Gp to get ‘a feel’ of the operational theatre, build a network, understand the VUCAT environment, provide options and identify opportunities that could potentially lead to the desired end state (in this case: obtaining resilience in the Nigerien security sector). This was executed by a SF-team with a small support element including a Human Domain Advisor/analyst as an enabler, one of the examples of a mission in which the DDC is deployed.

Another example of an operational deployment of the DDC is Operation Red Kite. In August, 2021, several members of the DDC took part in this Non-Combattant Evacuation Operation (NEO) from Afghanistan’s capital. This mission was a successful collaboration between the Belgian Special Forces Group, 2Cdo, SOCOM, DJMM, the intelligence services, the 15th Wing with its transport aircrafts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 23 flights, a total of 1400 persons was evacuated from Kabul International Airport in August 2021. In Kabul as well as in neighbouring country Pakistan, the Belgian SF teams, including DDC members, contributed to the successful execution of this evacuation operation.