McRaven: Special Ops Ready
for Post-2014 Afghanistan
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– February 27, 2014 – 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
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
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 before.”
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
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
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.
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone
Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS) :
Navy Adm. William H. McRaven
U.S. Special Operations Command
Special Report: U.S. Unified Combatant Commands