U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress [Updated May 11, 2022]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Summary: "Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations and have been given greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has about 70,000 Active Duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel from all four services and Department of Defense (DOD) civilians assigned to its headquarters, its four service component commands, and eight sub-unified commands. In 2013, based on a request from USSOCOM (with the concurrence of Geographic and Functional Combatant Commanders and the Military Service Chiefs and Secretaries), the Secretary of Defense assigned command of the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs) to USSOCOM. USSOCOM has the responsibility to organize, train, and equip TSOCs. While USSOCOM is responsible for the organizing, training, and equipping of TSOCs, the Geographic Combatant Commands will have operational control over the TSOCs. Because the TSOCs are now classified as sub-unified commands, the services are responsible to provide non-SOF support to the TSOCs in the same manner in which they provide support to the Geographic Combatant Command headquarters. [...] USSOCOM's FY2022 budget request was for $12.6 billion, representing a decrease of $495 million (4%) of the FY2021-enacted position of $13.1 billion. A potential issue for Congress includes potential implications of the Ukraine Conflict for U.S. SOF."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21048
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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