The Pentagon is considering cutting around 10% (3,000 troops) from the U.S. Army special operations forces due to recruiting challenges and the need to allocate resources for potential conflicts in the Pacific, according to The Wall Street Journal. Despite opposition from U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), defense officials and some Congress members, the reductions aim to shift focus towards a potential major power rivalry in the Pacific region.
- The potential troop reduction is driven by recruiting issues and the need to divert resources to prepare for Pacific threats, mainly from China.
- U.S. Special Operations Command and some congressional members strongly oppose these cuts, emphasizing the crucial role of special forces in advanced operations and training partner militaries.
- North Carolina Senator Ted Budd expressed concerns over the proposed cuts, stating that investing in special operations could prevent potential issues with China in the upcoming decades.
- The bulk of the reductions are anticipated to affect roles such as intelligence, communications, logistics, and psychological warfare.
- Over the last 20 years, the U.S. heavily depended on special operations forces for counterinsurgency efforts in the Middle East. However, with the growing threat from China, the Pentagon is pivoting its focus to better suit potential oceanic warfare with a similarly equipped adversary.