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Why Are US Special Operations Forces Deployed in Over 100 Countries? | The Nation January 9, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in Security, US Military.
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The Rise of the Military’s Secret Military

Born of a failed 1980 raid to rescue American hostages in Iran (in which eight US service members died), US Special Operations Command was established in 1987. Made up of units from all the service branches, SOCOM is tasked with carrying out Washington’s most specialized and secret missions, including assassinations, counterterrorist raids, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, psychological operations, foreign troop training and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.

In the post-9/11 era, the command has grown steadily. With about 33,000 personnel in 2001, it is reportedly on track to reach 72,000 in 2014. (About half this number are called, in the jargon of the trade, “badged operators”—SEALs, Rangers, Special Operations Aviators, Green Berets—while the rest are support personnel.) Funding for the command also jumped exponentially as SOCOM’s baseline budget tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.9 billion between 2001 and 2013. If you add in supplemental funding, it has actually more than quadrupled to $10.4 billion.

Not surprisingly, personnel deployments abroad skyrocketed from 4,900 “man-years”—as the command puts it—in 2001 to 11,500 in 2013. About 11,000 special operators are now working abroad at any one time and on any given day they are in seventy to eighty countries, though The New York Times reported that, according to statistics provided to them by SOCOM, during one week in March 2013 that number reached ninety-two.

via Why Are US Special Operations Forces Deployed in Over 100 Countries? | The Nation.

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