Skip to comments.Commander: Special operations forces under stress
Posted on 06/29/2011 4:27:11 PM PDT by Pan_Yan
WASHINGTON The military commander who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden is warning that the escalating demands on U.S. special operations forces are hampering their training and could slowly eat away at their combat readiness.
Vice Adm. William McRaven said demand for the elite forces around the world continues to grow, so there often isn't enough time to train between deployments. And he said the helicopters and other equipment they need are not available to units in the United States who are preparing to deploy.
Special operations forces "cannot indefinitely sustain current levels of overseas presence," said McRaven, who has been nominated to replace Adm. Eric Olson as commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. "The resulting pressure on the force and our families is too great, and the pressure is creating a dramatic effect on our readiness."
He said the short breaks between deployments limit training in key language skills and the regional and cultural expertise that enable the commandos to work well in other countries. And he noted that most of the helicopters needed for training are either at the warfront or in maintenance, making it difficult for aircrews to hone their skills.
The lack of helicopters, aircraft and ships at bases in the U.S., he said, limits training on refueling, live bomb drops or dock landings.
McRaven's comments came in answer to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing Tuesday and in a written questionnaire obtained by The Associated Press. And they mirror, in part, observations made by Olson earlier this year, when he warned that the elite forces were "beginning to show some fraying around the edges."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
I remember when Nancy Pelosi wanted to increase the number of special forces troops. Apparently, she thought all you had to do was issue them a colored beret.
Well, they also have to worry if the object of their exercise is injured or killed, the Obama Administration will press charges, even if the job was a success.
Can’t operate when your spear is the same leash in your back held by a socialist polidiot wanting to profit from your death an or failures.
God bless all of our fighting men an women.
They will always be special to me.
Every real mission the Sec Ops people do is also a training mission and far more realistic than classroom exercises. If these soldiers were sitting idly for months at a time I could understand the training thing. But they aren’t, their engaged in what their paid to do.
Perhaps this goofy admiral thinks that training is more important than missions. Sounds about right coming from Navy senior brass.
I am not sure what you’re getting at.
Would you say that a pilot should not train before gone into combat? What if they were dropping troops into combat, would you want to know they know how to get to where they are going and put the troops in the right location?
Of course you learn on combat missions but training and lots of it are why Spec Ops don’t lose more people in combat.
I read his Naval War College thesis in the early 1990s where he developed a model that explained why SpecOps can achieve successes that far surpasses the size of forces committed to action. Later that thesis was reworked into an unclassified format and was published twice - once in hard back and again in paperback. Of all the books in my private SpecOps library, at one time over one hundred titles, it is the only one that I am constantly on the look out for on both the new and used markets.
As for his comments on the health of the force - he is expressing trends that I saw developing 16 years ago in AF Special Operations Command. Those trends got progressively worse and after September 11, 2001 everyone knew they would really get bad.
The root cause of the problem lays within the conventional forces of the DOD. After the end of Vietnam (1973) the REMFs in the Pentagon decided that we would never ever fight another war like Vietnam. This was in the face that there were some 25 - 30 mini-Vietnams scattered around the world at that time. In the 38 years since then there has only been two conventional operations in the world - both in the Middle East where the post-Vietnam theorists said there would be no conflict.
In 2008, the Joint Operation Environment stated that irregular warfare (aka Vietnam style conflict) would be the primary military threat to the US for the next 25 plus years because it was the only form of conflict that offered any possibility of success agents the US. Unfortunately three years after this approved major doctrinal statement the REMFs in the Pentagon are still buying weapon systems that have marginal use in the irregular warfare arena. there are too many military and civilian careers tied up in conventional warfare to do otherwise.
My final observation concerns the USAF. The uproar that accompanied the appointment of General Norman Schwartz's appointment as Chief of Staff has yet to die down - how dare an air lifter (he came up in the C-130 and Spec Ops communities) be appointed to Chief of Staff instead of some perfectly good fighter jock!
Enough said on this subject.
I don’t know much about this guy and I’m glad to get some feedback. Thanks for the input.
I’m not sure the ‘combat as training’ is very doctrinally sound.
Sorry, Admiral, your words fall on deaf ears; do you really believe, in your wildest dreams, that King Obama gives a rat’s *ss?
Shameful; absolutely and utterly shameful.
Isn’t that known as the crotch salute? We MUST get rid of him in 2012.
That picture needs to go viral! When was it taken?
Don’t know if this is true or not, but there are a number of pictures to support the assertions made at the link.
I’m posting it because I would rather make sure we’re right vs. wrong.
I question much, if not almost everything of what I see on the interwebz.
I received the photo in an email...I looked it up...possibly from this site, which I don’t particularly like... [Ft. Hood , Texas on Nov. 11, 2009.]
Both Snopes and ToF.com have already debunked this one. The short answer:
1) This wasn’t Ft. Hood, nor was it Veterans Day. This picture is 6 months old, taken at a Memorial Day service.
2) This picture is taken during the playing of “Hail to the Chief”. Obama is the one being saluted!
Of course, I know that last fact is what really drives wingnuts crazy.
Sorry, I’m not into doctrines. If we follow the Admiral’s argument—and doctrine—training is more important than fighting the existing and on-going war.
So what do you propose—curtailing spec. ops for a period of training? Of course, that would mean giving up the combat initiative wouldn’t it? Have you considered what the enemy would be doing during the lull in U.S. spec. ops? Do you think targets of opportunity will disappear while we’re in training mode? Spec. ops, by definition, are just that. They are designed to create or take advantage of opportunity. Who can predict when opportunity will come knocking?
Oh, and if I accept the Admiral’s premise is he telling me that every spec. op unit and soldier is engaged at the same time? If this is so, then the solution is to create more spec op units—not abate battle tempo.
Just a few thoughts on the matter.
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