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The Dilemma for USSOCOM: Transitioning SOF-Peculiar to Service-Common

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Research paper

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In 1986, the fiscal year 1987 Defense Authorization Act containing the Nunn-Cohen amendment passed creating United States Special Operations Command USSOCOM. Among the many authorities it was given is the requirement to organize, train, and equip Special Operations Forces SOF. Concomitant to this responsibility was the creation of a funding stream, Major Force Program 11, dedicated solely for the purchase of SOF-peculiar equipment, material, supplies, and services for SOF where there is no Service-common equivalent. From inception, there was no overarching organization charged with adjudication or determination of items that are contentious, or are currently paid for by SOF, but now used as Service-common, and thus should transition. Presently, transition decisions are piecemeal, occurring through mutual agreements between a Service and USSOCOM, binding acquisition decisions, or through budget documents. In an internal audit, USSOCOM found that it is paying for items that meet the definition of Service-common. The audit also revealed that there are currently fielded and funded SOF capabilities that already meet or could meet a Service requirement. Armed with this data, and pressed by growing fiscal DoD austerity, and the mandate to seek efficiencies, USSOCOM has set out on a campaign to publicize the issue. Its petitions have largely fallen on deaf ears, for relatively few DoD organizations or empowered bodies agree this is a problem. Despite USSOCOMs best efforts, to date no alterations to DoD processes or procedures have been made, leaving USSOCOM to seek resolution through an amalgamation of disparate venues and processes. In the end, there is no one-stop adjudication authority in the DoD to determine SOF-peculiar to Service-common transitions.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies

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