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Special Operations Chief: Sequester Portends Weakened Force

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2013 – The commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said sequestration and the budget measure currently in place known as a continuing resolution will have a “dramatic impact” on current and future missions.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Navy Adm. William H. McRaven said he will manage the best force possible and provide combat-capable special operations troops as directed.

“However, having said that … we tend to have to mortgage a little bit of the future,” McRaven said of the projected $500 billion reduction in defense spending over 10 years. “So it will not be apparent … to the combatant commanders or to the American people the effect that these cuts are having on special operations for several years.”

The cuts, McRaven said, include the paring of flying programs, recruiting efforts, helicopter modifications and deployments.

“Before long, there is a … global effect … with the reduction in capability of the special operations forces,” McRaven said. “I can’t tell you … when we’re going to hit that mark.”

But McRaven said he was certain that sequestration will hasten the critical point of degraded forces and that even a reversal of cuts will do little to affect what has already been diminished.

“The problems are current,” McRaven said. “I’ve cut some of my deployments by about 20 percent [and] in some cases … 60 percent … for some of my less forward units and that effect will be magnified as we go forward in the future.”


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Navy Adm. William H. McRaven

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