by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
2/28/2014 - WASHINGTON -- Special
operations forces will be prepared for any decision made on the
post-2014 U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the commander of U.S.
Special Operations Command told Congress today.
Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee, Navy Adm. William H.
McRaven cited "great strides" in dealing with current conflicts,
preparing for future conflicts, and with the state of his workforce.
"Socom continues to provide the world's finest warriors to the fight in
Afghanistan," he said. "As we approach the end of 2014, your special
operations forces will be able to adjust to whatever decisions are made
regarding our future employment in that country."
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon leaders to
prepare for the possibility of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from
Afghanistan by the end of the year if a signed bilateral security
agreement is not in place.
"Globally, we are developing plans to better serve the geographic
combatant commanders, who, owing to the past 12 years of engagement in
Iraq and Afghanistan, have gone under-resourced with special operations
forces," McRaven said.
The admiral referred to Socom as the Defense Department's "synchronizer
for the planning of the war on terrorism," noting the work special
operations forces are doing to better coordinate activities locally,
regionally and globally with both the geographic combatant commanders
and the U.S. ambassadors.
"I believe the future of special operations will be in helping to build
partner capacity with those willing nations who share our interests," he
This will mean strengthening existing allied relationships, McRaven
said, and building new ones. "No nation alone can stem the rise of
extremism," he said. "We need our friends and allies more now than ever
The admiral said Socom's future is "inextricably linked" to the general-purpose force and government agencies outside DOD.
"The past 12 years have shown us that a whole-of-government effort is
required to be successful," McRaven said. "In special operations, we
have always known that without our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and
Marines, we are destined to fail."
McRaven said the command has also gone to great lengths to take care of what he called his most precious resource: his people.
"The preservation of the force and family ... has already seen a marked
improvement in the morale and well-being of those who serve in [special
operations forces]," he said. While there are still issues to be
addressed, McRaven acknowledged, he expressed confidence in the health
of the force and their families going forward.
"I believe that we have laid the foundation for keeping our force, and
their families, strong and resilient into the future," he said.