The U.S. Army is contemplating cutting around 3,000 special operators, approximately 10% of its special operations community. However, the Green Berets, known for their combat roles, are not expected to face significant reductions. These considerations come amidst shifting defense priorities and the Army’s recruiting challenges.
- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed that the number of Green Berets not be reduced, though some vacant positions may remain unfilled.
- The potential cuts follow SOCOM’s considerable expansion during the Global War on Terrorism, growing from 45,700 personnel in 2001 to 73,900 in 2021.
- Army Secretary Christine Wormuth emphasized the need for the Army to pivot from counterinsurgency operations to large-scale combat, reflecting changes in global threats.
- Rep. Mike Waltz voiced strong opposition to the cuts, highlighting the crucial global roles of special operators, especially given current geopolitical tensions.
- Training for special operators is time-intensive, with the Army Special Forces Qualification Course ranging from 12 to 24 months, making them challenging to replace quickly.