Congress is being warned that the U.S. Special Operations Forces have become an “easy button” for multiple presidential administrations to push when a problem develops around the world – but that they are “fraying” because of overuse, explains a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The report comes from the Congressional Research Office, which pointed out those forces have more than doubled from 33,000 in 2001 to about 70,000 now, with plans for expansion by another 1,000.
They currently are deployed across 90 countries.
“In one country alone – Afghanistan – joint U.S. SOF conducted 2,175 ground operations where they advised and assisted Afghan commandos from June 1 to November 24, 2017 – an almost six-month period. In 2017, DOD reportedly moved more than 15 percent of its deployed SOF to assist African militaries, up from 1 percent in 2006, for a total of about 1,200 deployed to about a dozen African countries.”
The report continued, “It has been suggested that over the past 16 years, U.S. SOF have become ‘the new American way of war.’ Some suggest U.S. SOF has become an ‘easy button’ for consecutive administrations to push – a politically attractive alternative to sending thousands of conventional military personnel into complex and dangerous regions of the world.”
The demanding regimen has come with its costs, the report explains.
It was at a 2016 conference, the report says, Commander Adm. William McRaven “reportedly noted ‘my soldiers have been fighting now for 12, 13 years in hard combat. And anybody that has spent any time in this war has been changed by it.’ The current commander … Gen. Raymond Thomas, told Congress in May 2017 the rate of deployments was ‘unsustainable,’ with one retired … .general officer reportedly noting, ‘We are not frayed at the edges – we’re ripped at the damn seams. We’ve burned through this force.'”
The CRS report cites “drug and alcohol abuse, family problems, and suicides,” as well as “increased incidences of battlefield mistakes.”
The report said those issues are being blamed on the “high operational tempo and its detrimental effect on readiness.”