Sunday, September 26, 2010

SOF Congressional Report, July 2010

U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF Background and Issues for Congress
by Andrew Feickert, Specialist in Military Ground Forces
July 9, 2010

SFA Chapter IX is posting the Summary of this report here with a link to the whole report at the bottom on this article.


Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations and the Administration has given U.S. SOF greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) directs increases in SOF force structure, particularly in terms of increasing enabling units and rotary and fixed-wing SOF aviation assets and units.

The USSOCOM Commander, Admiral Eric T. Olson, in commenting on the current state of the forces under his command noted that SOF forces are deployed to more than 75 countries and 86% of these forces are in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Admiral Olson also noted ongoing growth in SOF units and aviation assets and the effectiveness of Section 1208 authority, which provides funds for SOF to train and equip regular and irregular indigenous forces to conduct counterterrorism operations. USSOCOM’s FY2011 budget request for $9.8 billion has been recommended by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees for full funding, and both committees have also recommended additional funding for unfunded requirements.

Afghan-related issues include the impact of new command relationships as well as rules of engagement, which have limited SOF nighttime raids targeting insurgent leadership. These SOF raids have been characterized as being highly successful, even though on some occasions they have resulted in civilian casualties. U.S. SOF have been given the mission of training Afghan Civil Order Police, who are responsible for manning checkpoints and interacting with locals. A more controversial mission involves up to 23 Special Forces Operational Detachments – Alphas (ODAs) training local militias in remote areas of Afghanistan to fill a security void. Potential
issues for congressional consideration include how command relationships and rules of
engagement are affecting special operations in Afghanistan and whether training police and militias is the best use of U.S. SOF.

For the full report, please go to:

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