An Overview of Special Operations Forces, and More from CRS

Over the past decade, the number of U.S. special operations forces (SOF) personnel has nearly doubled, while budgets for special operations have nearly tripled, and overseas deployments have quadrupled, according to a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Special Operations Forces are elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate into hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified,” the CRS report explains. “SOF personnel undergo rigorous selection and lengthy specialized training. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees the training, doctrine, and equipping of all U.S. SOF units.”

Following an overview of the structure of U.S. special operations forces, the CRS report discusses the implications for special operations of recent legislation including the 2012 defense authorization act.  See U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, January 11, 2012.

A copy of the new U.S. Special Operations Command Fact Book 2012, prepared by USSOCOM Public Affairs, is available here.

Other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following:

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process, February 1, 2012

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2012

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues, January 12, 2012

One Response to “An Overview of Special Operations Forces, and More from CRS”

  1. Stephen Powell February 6, 2012 at 2:27 PM #

    Special Forces units are force multipliers, they will be indispensable as we draw down in both Iraq, and Afghanistan. The utilization of Special Forces is the best economical solution to the asymmetric enemy’s and threats the US will continue to have to endure and subdue from these regions in the future. The Special Forces doctrine has been honed to perfection by their use in these conflicts. They are the future of our force projection into unstable regions of the world where our enemy’s continue to suddenly pop up and set up shop. God Bless them and I hope they get every nickel of their budget requests fulfilled.