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Special Ops Poised to Take $1 Billion Hit from Sequestration, CR

Will Washington step up in the 11th hour for our most elite warriors, or will cuts hazardously weaken SOCOM's readiness?

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 22, 2013 - 7:06 pm
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America’s elite special operations forces are poised to take a hit if the sequestration defense cuts, coupled with another continuing budget resolution that ties the military’s hands in directing funds to needed areas, happen in a week.

It would be inglorious treatment for the warfighters such as those who got Osama bin Laden and puts the readiness of and support for the country’s most elite soldiers at risk when al-Qaeda’s operations are growing in Africa and the U.S. prepares to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan.

U.S. Special Operations Commander Adm. William H. McRaven warned late last month that his command will be faced with a $1 billion budget shortfall thanks to the continuing resolution and sequestration, both up for debate and 11th-hour negotiations when Congress returns next week from the Presidents Day recess.

“We will contribute just like the services do,” McRaven said at the National Defense Industrial Association Special Operations conference in Washington, adding he needed to see more details before saying exactly how operations will be affected.

“We don’t know what sequestration is going to look like, but there is an expectation that it is clearly going to be an additional bill on top of that,” he said.

The chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee at the House Armed Services Committee told PJM tonight that he’s had discussions with McRaven and is concerned about special ops having the resources they need.

“Special ops are what they call the tip of the spear folks — they are the most highly skilled warriors anywhere in the world,” Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) said. “They go into the most dangerous places.”

And they need continual training as well as top-notch support to drop them into operations and pull them out if necessary.

“The prefect example is the effort to kill Osama bin Laden,” Wittman said — “a very, very complex mission” with longtime planning and training and complicated logistics.

Even with budget cuts, he noted, “special operations are not going to say ‘no’ to that mission — we have an obligation to provide them all that they need.”

That means not only stopping $500 billion in sequestration cuts — the Pentagon takes the brunt while an equally large chunk of spending cuts is split among non-defense discretionary spending — on top of $487 billion in cuts not tied to sequestration, but tailoring a continuing resolution that gives the service branch chiefs discretion on where to direct funds.

“We want to make sure that we reduce spending, but we have to do it in a thoughtful way — not one that ties the hands of military leaders,” Wittman said.

The Senate Armed Services Committee was warned at a Feb. 12 hearing on the impact of sequestration that special ops readiness will take a “devastating” hit.

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), who chairs the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee and whose state is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, expressed concern about the hit to special ops particularly with the approaching Afghanistan withdrawal.

“And I understand the combined impact of these issues could cut approximately 23 percent in the special ops operations and maintenance accounts and 9 percent in their investment accounts. essentially returning the command to fiscal year 2007 spending levels, or $2.4 billion below the budget request for fiscal year ’13,” Hagan said.

“The reason the SOCOM gets hit especially hard is the same reason that General Odierno and the Army get hit especially hard. Namely that they have a lot of funding in the overseas contingency operations account. That gets hit, too, by sequester,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter told the committee. “If sequestration is averted and we get back on course, special operation forces will actually grow slightly, I think from 65,000 to 72,000.”

“If sequestration occurs in the magnitude we’re discussing, everybody will be affected. Because we have to maintain a joint force of conventional and unconventional capability,” said chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Yep, Obama's chain of command can't fund Special Ops nor can they re-fuel the USS Abraham Lincoln. But really, are these line items really national security priorities?

Let's look at what the chain of command is preserving in our defense budgets:

1. Gay pride week
2. Reality cooking shows such as "Grill Sergeants"
3. Development of i-Phone apps to let DoD employees know the best time to take a coffee break.
4. DoD studies on Twitter jargon
5. Development of beef jerky so good that it will shock and awe your taste buds.

I would never want the Chain of Command to buck the authority of the Commander in Chief. However, I do often wonder whether or not our current military leadership has become Obama replicants: more interested in saving their own hide and their own career than in providing for the security and well-being of the nation.

I hope the budget arguments behind closed doors reflect better judgement than the words that are being spoken in public.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry, but this administration will only misuse any military capability we have. Better to take the cuts at this point. The administration will damage our military and our foreign policy in any case--giving them less money means less waste and stupidity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What we see happening now is just the administrations version of the protection racket. It's also called extortion. You must pay us 'x' amount of dollars or we cannot protect you. We will, however, take care of our 47% that pay no income tax. After all, they're the ones that put us in power.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (25)
All Comments   (25)
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We have to reduce the waste in government spending. I think we should go to zero base budgeting where each and every item has to be justified through a thorough economic/cost benefit analysis. I think many federal offices and projects could be closed without any impact on our living standards and quality of life.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is the favorite trick of goverment administrators. We had a department of water drainage that had a budget freeze years ago. They spent their budget on wages and raises, and trucks to drive around and see where water needed to be drained. They did no drainage projects, because they had no money for projects. Just enough money for guys to drive around all day.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, what else could possibly be going on here? Develop a "civilian defense force" and destroy the regular military? Start with JSOC and work down? Buy a billion bullets, a 40 year supply, for DHS and have no other reason? Just something to think about.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry Bill, I'm not buying your shtick. I can call you Bill now that I'm retired. No military command wants to loose its share of the pie. For McRaven and other high ranking officers at JSOC, having less money and less personnel means reporting lower metrics on their FITREPS.

During the hunt for Bin Laden JSOC nearly tripled in size and who knows how much in budget. When McCraven briefed the President during the initial planning for the Bin Laden raid, he was only skeptical of the insertion, not the raid itself saying "We do raids like this ten times a night."

I've read the books of enough SEALs and Delta under his command to know that they indeed are doing raids like this at ten a night, or more. Well, maybe it is time to tone that op tempo down a little bit. Maybe convert that legendary JSOC operations tempo from 17-5-2 (seventeen hours work, five hours sleep, two hours for everything else) to a 16-8-2. A couple less ops means a few less hours of AC-130s being on station. The av gas alone would probably save you a billion dollars next year.

You won't find a bigger fan of Special Operations warfare than me, but as others of have said, it seems William McCraven is using the same old bluster that Ray LaHood is using, and frankly, sir, that is just embarrassing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I may reply to my own post. I found this at CATO video which so very succinctly tells the true story that politicians don't want you to hear:

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-video/truth-about-sequestration
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But hay! Keep the funding flowing for those military bands! Keep the money flowing for Air Shows and fleet week as well and let's continue to pay 150K-200K per student to keep those kids in military academies.

If you have done a Pentagon tour, then you know that budget drills, which include budget submission, require a submission with 5% and 10% cuts.... Better know as "efficiencies".

Look, quality of life project are nice. But I rather have equipment that is well kept and trained folks to work the equipment over the pleasure of watching the military band or military aircraft doing tricks.

Hard choices are coming and clearly the Pentagon did not create a OPLAN for this contingency. The Pentagon needs to rack and stack and ensure all possible funds go to mission readiness.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Socom needs to get ready to take back the White house..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yo! Bridget. They're cutting FUTURE INCREASES in spending. They aren't cutting current budgets one single, solitary penny.

In fact, spending -even on the DoD- is still going up...

They're all getting a pay raise...they just aren't getting the pay raise they wanted.





1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Our politicians and our military leaders are playing us for fools. It is shameful as Rush Limbaugh said, that they would use such an old scare tactic to extort more money from the beliegered taxpayer. Seroiuosly, in a budget so big they cant find something useless to cut? We have unneeded military bases and obsolite jobs to look at immediately, so don't insult our intelligence. Perhaps we need an oversight committee headed by Sen. Rand Paul to guide them in an honest trimming of the fat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I got an issue with a headline. It makes it sound like a done deal. It's a scare claim by bureaucrats. Even with sequestration, the feds are still going to have $3.5 trillion to play with. If $85 billion is being cut all across the board and special ops really do get 1.2 percent of ALL federal spending that means we are spending now about $43 billion on special ops alone which means that cutting $1 billion would probably be a good thing.

And if we are not spending that much on them and these cuts are being claim then: someone is lying or someone other than Republicans must take the hit for weakening our defense.

It is far more dangerous to fail to address our debt than it is to cut special ops.

Yesterday was Washington's Birthday. This is what he said in his farewell address: As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. [http://blog.billlawrenceonline.com/2013/02/22/happy-birthday-gw.aspx]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep, Obama's chain of command can't fund Special Ops nor can they re-fuel the USS Abraham Lincoln. But really, are these line items really national security priorities?

Let's look at what the chain of command is preserving in our defense budgets:

1. Gay pride week
2. Reality cooking shows such as "Grill Sergeants"
3. Development of i-Phone apps to let DoD employees know the best time to take a coffee break.
4. DoD studies on Twitter jargon
5. Development of beef jerky so good that it will shock and awe your taste buds.

I would never want the Chain of Command to buck the authority of the Commander in Chief. However, I do often wonder whether or not our current military leadership has become Obama replicants: more interested in saving their own hide and their own career than in providing for the security and well-being of the nation.

I hope the budget arguments behind closed doors reflect better judgement than the words that are being spoken in public.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mike, you know as well as I do that the troops will still be on duty whether they get paid or not. Hopefully, they will fed and sheltered, but their dependents will be pretty much on their own.

The stupid, it burns.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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