Most of you are aware that working dogs are playing a critical role in mission success these days. Man's best friend has been very busy in the Global War on Terror. The role dogs play continues to grow outside of traditional bomb detection and attack scenarios.
Traditionally, working dogs in the military have been used in police and security functions. In the last decade, the Special Operations community has seen the value of using breeds like the Belgian Malinois for more advanced concepts. It's amazing what kind of training these dogs are going through and, more importantly, how they are performing on the battle field.
Strijder Group has one of the best programs in the world. The three founders are all former operators who focus on the highest quality brood stock. Quality dogs coupled with their unique perspective as former operators is the special sauce that makes their program stand out above the rest in my opinion. You have to understand the missions these dogs are going to be engaged in to truly set them up for success when they are handed off to end users. Many programs have fine dogs and training curriculum but fall short when it comes to intimately understanding end user needs. There is no substitute for having been there yourself and understanding the mission these dogs are actively engaged.
When I left the teams, dogs were just starting to integrate with actual assault team elements, and their roles were growing. The Spec Ops community continues to push the threshold of what these four legged laser guided missiles can accomplish, and it will be very exciting to see what the future holds.