Since the Global War on Terrorism, the Department of Defense (DOD) has taken steps to expand the role of the United States Special Operations Command (Command) and its forces. In response, the Command has transformed its headquarters to coordinate counterterrorism activities, and DOD has increased funding and the number of special operations forces positions. Given the expanded mission, it is critical that the Command has personnel with the right knowledge and skill sets. GAO was asked to assess: (1) whether the Command has determined all of the personnel requirements needed to meet its expanded role; (2) the progress and challenges in meeting growth goals; and (3) any effect of deployments on the Command's ability to provide trained forces, and the progress made in managing deployments. GAO performed its work at the Special Operations Command and its service components, analyzed personnel data against requirements, and examined policies and directives.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct the Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, to establish specific milestones for completing the Command's ongoing analyses of personnel requirements and, once completed, make any needed adjustments to the current plans for personnel increases for the Command's headquarters and related future funding requests.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct the Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, to revise the Command's directive for its program to monitor the status of special operations forces to include performance objectives, goals, and measures of progress for achieving planned growth; and enforce all of the directive's reporting requirements.|
|Department of Defense||The Secretary of Defense should direct the Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, to clarify the methodology that the Command's service components should use for enforcing the deployment policy, and take steps to ensure that the service components have tracking systems in place that utilize reliable data to meet the requirements of the policy.|