(The Washington Times) -- America’s in-demand global force against terrorists is showing signs of stress and appears to be gliding toward a decline in readiness, says a Pentagon budget overview on special operations forces.
With the end of U.S. military operations in the Iraq War, the thought was that fewer deployments would give some relief to special operations forces after a dozen years of overseas fighting.
But the 2015 budget overview says demand for special operations forces is up, not down.
It talks of “significant stress on the force” and notes that the demand for Delta Force troops, Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other commandos is “outpacing capacity” and has “initiated a downward trend in SOF readiness” this year.
Retired Rear Adm. George Worthington, once the Navy’s top SEAL, said the wear and tear on mind and body, much less equipment, is becoming apparent.
“With guys doing multiple deployments, they’re getting a tough nine to 10 deployments over a 12-year period, the impact on families is going to be noticeable,” Adm. Worthington said. “Anything that can cut down and make the deployments less vigorous in terms of operation tempo is going to be a better thing.
“The stress is, at home, you’ve got to get ready to deploy for another nine months,” he said, adding that the war on terrorism has been the SEALs’ busiest era since the Vietnam War.
“This is Vietnam on steroids,” he said. “If there is any fraying, it’s on replaceable operational equipment. But more than that, it’s the operational tempo on the guys. They’re over there for eight or nine months, and then they come back and then they’ve got to go back.”