U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress

Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Military and defense



Special Operations Forces (SOF) play a significant role in U.S. military operations and the Administration has given U.S. SOF forces greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) has called for a 15% increase in special operations forces beginning in FY2007. Proposals to elevate the command of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the realignment of civil affairs, psychological operations (psyops) and combat search and rescue (CSAR) functions out from under the control of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), has raised concerns that SOF is perhaps becoming too focused on immediate versus long-term results. This report will be updated as events warrant.