SOCOM’s impact outweighs its size, commander says

Ravage

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http://www.socom.mil/socomhome/newspub/news/pages/socomimpactoutweighsitssize.aspx

U.S. Special Operations Command brings increasingly vital capabilities to the nation’s military missions, its commander said March 1.
Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson, SOCOM commander, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on SOCOM’s current and projected missions and budget requirements.
“I am convinced that the forces we provide to the geographic combatant commanders are the most culturally attuned partners, the most lethal hunter-killers, and most responsive, agile, innovative and efficiently effective advisors, trainers, problem-solvers and warriors that any nation has to offer,” he said.
Olson said 85 percent of SOCOM’s deployed troops are working in the U.S. Central Command’s area of operations. SOCOM operators are backed by “a magnificent assortment of administrative, intelligence, communications, engineering, logistics and other specialists,” their commander said, adding that the command’s headquarters staffs around the world also include more than 300 representatives from at least 15 other agencies within and beyond the Defense Department.
“Our value comes from both our high level of skills and our nontraditional methods of applying them, which is to say that our principal asset is the quality of our people,” he said.
Olson said his forces achieve “impressive effects,” whether they are conducting precision raids, organizing a village police force, arranging a new school or clinic, or partnering with counterpart forces.
“In Afghanistan and Iraq especially, it is undeniable that they have had impact far above their relatively small numbers,” the admiral said.
SOCOM has forces deployed to dozens of other countries as well, Olson said, contributing to regional stability by training and advising counterpart forces.
“This balance of direct and indirect operations must be carefully managed, but because special operations forces live in both of these worlds, we have become the force of first choice for many missions,” he said.
SOCOM faces the key challenge of how to meet an increasing demand for its capabilities, Olson said.
“We can’t grow them more than a very few percent per year, but the demand is outpacing the supply,” he said, noting that although the command’s manpower has doubled over the last decade, its overseas deployments have quadrupled.
SOCOM continues to successfully perform its missions, but the command is undergoing strain, Olson said. “The fabric is strong, [and] the weave is tight,” he said. “It’s not unraveling, but it’s showing signs of wear.”
Possible approaches to ease SOCOM’s strain include finding a process to assign units from the services to train and deploy with special operations forces, Olson said, and upgrading or adding training ranges and other facilities.
Olson also suggested “investing more broadly in the types of enabling capabilities that will relieve special operations forces from sending our own people to perform functions that could be performed by others.”
Finally, Olson urged expanding the services’ inventory of specific irregular warfare assets and ensuring SOCOM has the specialized equipment and advanced training its forces need “to survive and succeed in the complex, ambiguous and often violent environments in which we ask them to serve.”
“I ask for your action to approve a defense budget for fiscal year 2011, and for your support for your support for the fiscal year 2012 budget proposal,” he told the committee.
“I also ask that you fully fund the special operations budget, particularly as conventional forces begin to draw down from major operations,” Olson said, “because our forces will most likely be allocated at the same levels to areas with pent-up demand for our unique capabilities.”
The nation can take great pride in its special operations forces, the SOCOM commander said, adding that he is humbled to “command this formidable force, and to provide it to answer our nation’s most-daunting security needs.”
 

DA SWO

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Very interesting.
There is merit in his comment about using conventional forces better. We could chopa conventional unit to a SOF BN heading out 4-6 months prior to the deployment, train them up and have them deploy as a team.
Of course, they'd have to seperate from the Army upon return to CONUS, as their SOF time would open their eyes, and re-integrating into the conventional BS Army would be difficult, maybe impossible
tongue.png
 

Florida173

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I can't see conventional forces doing FID effectively. I believe that is what is working very well in Afghanistan right now.
 

AWP

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I can't see conventional forces doing FID effectively. I believe that is what is working very well in Afghanistan right now.

I think you could do it, but like SOWT said, you'd have to give them to SOF for a 4-6 month train-up to make them effective.
 

DA SWO

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I can't see conventional forces doing FID effectively. I believe that is what is working very well in Afghanistan right now.

I can, ARSOUTH has been doing it for years.
FID is more then teaching combat tactics. Why use an ODA to teach Log Planning when I can bring a professional Log Planner in? Same for intel, maintenance, and other Combat Support/Service Support functions.
Look at the PRT, MiTT and other training teams running around Afghanistan and Iraq.
SF is a Force Multiplier, SF is also a toe in the door.
Let the first FID effort be a SF mission, then bring larger staff/conventional elements in as the relationship solidifies.
As far as my conventional/SOF link up; there are a lot of missions where we burn an entire ODA or other element. Using a "married" conventional element instead of the entire ODA frees the other half of the ODA for another mission. Think 82nd Abn instead of the ANA. Same mission, different task units.
 

Florida173

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I can, ARSOUTH has been doing it for years.
FID is more then teaching combat tactics. Why use an ODA to teach Log Planning when I can bring a professional Log Planner in? Same for intel, maintenance, and other Combat Support/Service Support functions.
Look at the PRT, MiTT and other training teams running around Afghanistan and Iraq.
SF is a Force Multiplier, SF is also a toe in the door.
Let the first FID effort be a SF mission, then bring larger staff/conventional elements in as the relationship solidifies.
As far as my conventional/SOF link up; there are a lot of missions where we burn an entire ODA or other element. Using a "married" conventional element instead of the entire ODA frees the other half of the ODA for another mission. Think 82nd Abn instead of the ANA. Same mission, different task units.

Waste of money IMO. Send an ODA to do a JCET, or send a bunch of staff officers and an infantry company?

PRTs and MiTTs are a joke.
 

DA SWO

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Waste of money IMO. Send an ODA to do a JCET, or send a bunch of staff officers and an infantry company?

PRTs and MiTTs are a joke.

Those jokes are fighting and dying over there.
FID is more then trigger pulling, best trigger pullers in the world aint worth a shit if they can't deploy, or the support element isn't competent.
 

Mac_NZ

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I can't see conventional forces doing FID effectively. I believe that is what is working very well in Afghanistan right now.

There is conventional forces doing FID well every day of the week all over the world and including Afghanistan.

Waste of money IMO. Send an ODA to do a JCET, or send a bunch of staff officers and an infantry company?

PRTs and MiTTs are a joke.

Why are they a joke? That's a pretty bold statement to make. Also isn't an infantry company conventional?

I'm not saying that SF should not be your first port of call for FID, they are the experts at it but in a conflict of this scale you can't expect them to be able to deal with the whole country plus South America, Africa etc. It's not sustainable.

In my opinion the failings are not due to the quality of the troops participating. Its simply that we are trying to work with a corrupt and unresponsive host nation and a partner just over the border who wants to swing both ways. No one can expect the average Afghani to put his heart and soul into the cause when he knows first hand how fucked up his country really is and will be long after we leave.

As to the original article, well that's a no brainer. Its like putting an MIT professor up against a high school science teacher.
 

AWP

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If the PRTs are failing it is because there is a disconnect between them and USFOR-A. I've heard horror stories of "The village needs a well" and the result is "How do you like your new school?" The PRT is left to pick up the pieces of a decision that was counter to everything the PRT recommended.

Besides, Iraq sapped the funding that they need so some of them have had to make do with minimal support.
 

Florida173

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Those jokes are fighting and dying over there.
FID is more then trigger pulling, best trigger pullers in the world aint worth a shit if they can't deploy, or the support element isn't competent.

If they are fighting and dying over there, they may be getting used inappropriately.
 

Florida173

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There is conventional forces doing FID well every day of the week all over the world and including Afghanistan.

Why are they a joke? That's a pretty bold statement to make. Also isn't an infantry company conventional?

Most conventional forces haven't been properly trained to do that. FID is one of the most important mission sets for SOF. While I was in Iraq the first time I was conventional infantry with the 173d and we trained some of the new Iraqi Police. We were in no way organized and trained up on that beforehand. I'm not saying we didn't do a good job, but it could have been a lot better.


PRTs and MTTs are a joke because they usually are disconnected to the mission and IC.

My point about the infantry company was that it is conventional, and therefor bloated with inefficiencies compared with an ODA.


If the PRTs are failing it is because there is a disconnect between them and USFOR-A. I've heard horror stories of "The village needs a well" and the result is "How do you like your new school?" The PRT is left to pick up the pieces of a decision that was counter to everything the PRT recommended.

Besides, Iraq sapped the funding that they need so some of them have had to make do with minimal support.

+1
 

Mac_NZ

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Most conventional forces haven't been properly trained to do that. FID is one of the most important mission sets for SOF. While I was in Iraq the first time I was conventional infantry with the 173d and we trained some of the new Iraqi Police. We were in no way organized and trained up on that beforehand. I'm not saying we didn't do a good job, but it could have been a lot better.

OK, that's fair enough. That strikes me as improper tasking for your unit. If your going to be doing that task you need to be properly selected and trained for it. Also its still beyond me why they get soldiers to train police beyond basic weapons handling. Also as we don't have Special Forces groups to cover that base I accept a lot more mission creep in that area as the normal. I know some of the omelette teams are doing very well.


PRTs and MTTs are a joke because they usually are disconnected to the mission and IC.

The ISAF commanders mission or the provincial commanders mission? A lot of the time the two are quite different and I know first hand that some commanders are a lot more interested in their sexy units that will get them kudos than they are with the boring old PRT. By IC I assume you are talking about int geeks, you'll have to elaborate on that

My point about the infantry company was that it is conventional, and therefore bloated with inefficiencies compared with an ODA.

As per para 1 its a training thing, ideally you send the experts but that is not always possible or viable.
 

Florida173

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OK, that's fair enough. That strikes me as improper tasking for your unit. If your going to be doing that task you need to be properly selected and trained for it. Also its still beyond me why they get soldiers to train police beyond basic weapons handling. Also as we don't have Special Forces groups to cover that base I accept a lot more mission creep in that area as the normal. I know some of the omelette teams are doing very well.

It was during the invasion, so there wasn't a clear defined mission beyond the impulsive one. I'd say that was probably a bad example though. I'd say that my experiences during my second try there, and maybe even my first trip to the balkans in '01 would have some better examples, but this isn't an appropriate space to elaborate.


The ISAF commanders mission or the provincial commanders mission? A lot of the time the two are quite different and I know first hand that some commanders are a lot more interested in their sexy units that will get them kudos than they are with the boring old PRT. By IC I assume you are talking about int geeks, you'll have to elaborate on that.

I was referring to the int geeks.. as that is my current field.

I'm not too stern on any of these observations or opinion and could be easily swayed one way or another. I've spent zero time on the ground in Afghanistan and have only looked at a specific component in relationship to the command mentioned in the OP. Five deployments and no time in Afghanistan. I might need to get over there sometime, but can't in my current capacity unless I put the uniform back on for longer than a weekend.
 
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