Operational Studies is unique in that it is an academic research and assessment team with real-world operational and training capabilities. OS military studies are focused on conflict and post-conflict military and security operations, stabilization, counter insurgency, counterintelligence, force protection, security sector reform, contractor inter-operability in the battle space, and most aspects of special operations training. OS law enforcement studies are focused on homeland and maritime security, counter terrorism, hostage rescue, tactical operations, and modern LE teaching and training methodology. OS TextBW

Operational Studies is involved in a number of studies related to on-going operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and has supported STTU with lecture materials delivered to various audiences at the US Department of Defense, USMC, coalition military commands, and defense/aid contractor symposiums in Washington, DC.

Mark Lonsdale NoorMohammad Shilman 2008

Mark Lonsdale in Northeastern Afghanistan and border with Pakistan in 2008

Operational Studies Director, Mark Lonsdale, was cleared by CENTCOM and CJTF82 to conduct research in Afghanistan on COIN issues related to how insurgents and terrorists supported their operations through criminal activity. This research was also supported by the US Army War College, PKSOI, and formed the basis for a Masters thesis at the Department of Criminal Research.

Following on from this and several other trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, Mark was invited to present his findings to various military commands, intelligence personnel, and units spinning up for deployment.


The Specialized Tactical Training Unit is the training branch of Operational Studies. Founded in 1981, STTU has earned a reputation for progressive, effective, reality-based training. However, what separates STTU from the other training groups is an uncompromising drive to keep the in-house training materials current and on the cutting edge.


Mark Lonsdale doing counter insurgency (COIN) research with Afghan Border Police in 2008 


  • STABILITY & SECURITY / SASO – Security & Stabilization Operations
  • SECURITY SECTOR REFORM / SSR – Training of regional police, military, and border security forces
  • COUNTER INSURGENCY / COIN and the criminal components of insurgency
  • PSC / PSD OPERATIONS – Inter-operability of PMCs in the battle space and high risk environment security
  • IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN – Cultural engagement teams (CET); human terrain teams (HTT); female engagement teams (FET)
  • TRAINING DEVELOPMENT – Regional and mission specific training

2003 Mark-Lonsdale Afghanistan

Operational Studies and STTU Director, Mark Lonsdale, in Northern Afghanistan, 2003  

Operational Studies can be contracted to perform studies and assessments in conflict and post-conflict war zones, and to conduct security assessments for governmental and non-governmental organizations. Work hand in glove with Operational Studies, STTU can take OS findings and integrate them into real-world training programs for military, police and contractors. STTU also provides High Risk Environment Security Training (HEST) for personnel required to work in problematic areas of the globe.

For additional information, contact the STTU/OS director at STTUOperations@gmail.com

About Mark V

Dedicated shooter, seeker, traveler, teacher, trainer, educator
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