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The Age of Special Warfare

National Security Journalism Initiative launches project on U.S. Special Operations

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March 15, 2011 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Members of the U.S. Special Operations forces -- the “rock stars of the military” -- are the subject of an extensive report officially launched on the Web today (March 15) by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

The Age of Special Warfare” at http://nationalsecurityzone.org/specialops/ is the result of six months of research and reporting in the U.S. and abroad about, in the words of project investigator Tara McKelvey, an essential but poorly understood section of the American military.

The report provides detailed information and an interactive worldwide map of special operations conducted by the U.S. military since 9/11, with particular attention to missions in progress at the end of 2010. Special Operations personnel target crisis situations from natural disasters to civil wars to terrorist attacks.

With Medill graduate students participating in an extra quarter specialization program in national security reporting, McKelvey has developed an overview of U.S. Special Operations for journalists and journalism students. It explores the complex legal dimensions surrounding Special Operations and the role these forces perform in as many as 72 nations both friendly and unfriendly to the U.S.

The author of “Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War (Basic Books), McKelvey is Medill’s first Carnegie National Security Fellow. Carnegie Corporation of New York grants will make it possible for three research fellows to participate in six months of original research and reporting in the public interest at Medill.

Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been named Medill’s second Carnegie National Security Fellow. He is a coauthor of “Winning the Long War: Lessons from the Cold War for Defeating Terrorism and Preserving Freedom” (Heritage Books).

“The Age of Special Warfare” is a project of the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative. The initiative provides student and working journalists with the knowledge and skills necessary to report accurately, completely and with context on events and issues related to defense, security and civil liberties. It is supported with a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.