By lex, on February 9th, 2011
SOCCOM’s Commander is saying that, after ten years of unbelievably high op tempo, the snake eaters are starting to feel the burn:
Admiral Eric T. Olson says that while the number of special operations forces has doubled to about 60,000 over the last nine years, the total of those deployed overseas has quadrupled. Roughly 6,500 special operators are in Afghanistan and about 3,500 are in Iraq, although those numbers can vary as units move in and out of the war zone.
Olson said the demand for the specialized units in Afghanistan is insatiable, forcing troops to deploy to war at a rate that is off the charts. And he said he does not see that demand declining in the next several years.
As an example, he noted that while 100,000 regular forces have been pulled out of Iraq, leaving about 47,000 there, the withdrawal included just 500 or so special operators, just a fraction of the elite force there.
“Not on the same scale, but like the rest of the force we’re seeing the indicators – pressure on duty, pressure off duty,” Olson said at a conference in Washington. Even though the size of his special operations force has grown, the force is being asked to do more, he said, “so we are, frankly, beginning to show some fraying around the edges that we are addressing.”
I hope so, we’ll have a need of hard men for a good while yet.