Despite the proven effectiveness of the Special Operation Forces (SOF) in the U.S. military, proposals for SOF manpower cuts are being suggested for the FY24 and FY25 defense budgets. Given the shift towards Great Power Competition against adversaries like China and Russia, as well as ongoing anti-terrorism efforts, reductions in SOF resources could potentially compromise U.S. national security, therefore, Congress must oppose these cuts and support an increase in SOF budgets.
- The SOF has a rich history of successfully executing strategic and tactical missions, from the Cold War era to the post 9/11 Global War on Terrorism, demonstrating their critical role in U.S. national security.
- SOF’s effectiveness lies in their capacity for building long-term relationships, deterring major armed conflict through irregular warfare, and creating “low-cost touchpoints” with partners to enhance defense capabilities, as seen in Ukraine and Syria.
- The National Defense Strategy requires the SOF to continue fighting terrorism while also shifting towards deterring potential threats from major global powers like China and Russia, tasks that require sufficient manpower and resources.
- Despite these high expectations, the SOF has faced budget cuts, and current budget proposals leave SOF’s top line “flat” amidst inflation, effectively decreasing their buying power by 14% since 2019.
- To uphold U.S. security, Congress must protect the investment in SOF, empower the U.S. Special Operations Command with the right to disapprove any end strength cuts proposed by Service Branches, and commission a study to assess the appropriate SOF strength and funding levels.