Special Operations Forces: Opportunities Exist to Improve Transparency of Funding and Assess Potential to Lessen Some Deployments
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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SOF are specially organized, trained, and equipped to conduct operations in hostile or politically sensitive environments. Since 2001, DOD has increased the size and funding of SOF and emphasized SOF s importance to meet national security needs. SOF deployments have focused on the Middle East and placed significant demand on the force during this period. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 included a provision that GAO review SOF force structure. This report examines 1 trends since FY 2001 in authorized special operations military positions 2 the extent to which DOD has determined total funding for SOF and 3 the extent to which DOD has taken steps to manage the pace of SOF deployments, among other issues. GAO analyzed data for FYs 2001 through 2014 on SOF authorized positions, funding, and deployment data. GAO reviewed data on service-provided SOF funding and policies and other documentation and interviewed officials regarding processes for managing SOF deployments. GAO recommends that DOD improve visibility in total funding to support SOF and determine whether opportunities exist to balance deployments across the joint force. DOD partially concurred, stating that existing processes that guide funding and force allocation decisions are appropriate, but that it would review these processes and consider opportunities for improvement. GAO continues to believe that actions are needed, as discussed in the report.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Military Forces and Organizations