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Washington, DC, Wednesday, March 8, 2006.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 3:01 p.m., in room
2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman
of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. SAXTON. Okay, we are going to get started. At the outset,
thank you all for being here.

And, as I am sure all the members know, and I know that the
witnesses know, there are going to be a series of votes-there actu-
ally six votes that start somewhere between 10 after and 20 after.
So, unfortunately, we will have to take a break for that.

The subcommittee meets this afternoon to consider the fiscal
year 2007 budget request for the U.S. Special Operations Com-
mand (USSOCOM). We all fully understand that the annual
SOCOM oversight hearing is one of the most important sessions we
conduct each year.

Not only in the U.S. Special Operations Command the lead com-
mand in the ongoing and, in all likelihood, perpetual war against
terror, the command is slated to begin a period of significant
growth this year, based upon conclusions of the QDR, Quadrennial
Defense Review.

The QDR released in conjunction with the President's fiscal year
2007 budget request places considerable emphasis upon special op-
erating forces, generally finding and I am very pleased to over-
simplify here that the United States military has adequate capabil-
ity to defeat any adversary on a conventional battlefield but lacks
the resources necessary to effectively conduct a panoply of special
operations missions necessary around the globe.

This is truly a long war, maybe even a perpetual war, as I stated
earlier. SOCOM has concentrated and performed magnificently in
Iraq and Afghanistan, but has had to neglect to some degree other
critical areas of the world to execute its urgent combat missions.

To remedy that shortfall, the QDR and the fiscal year 2007 budg-
et begins to fund several key initiatives. The most dramatic would
increase the size of SOCOM by over 13,000 personnel, or 25 per-
cent, by fiscal year 2011; 2,600 of that number are part of the new-

est element of SOCOM, the Marine Corps Special Operations Command. The growth is projected in Army Green Beret and Navy Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) units, as well.

Additionally, the SOCOM budget is projected to increase almost 20 percent over the fiscal year 2006 appropriation to cover to over $8 billion. When one considers that, just 4 years ago, SOCOM's budget was $5 billion, the command has received significant new funding, a 60 percent increase since fiscal year 2003, if inflation is ignored.

We all realize that great challenges come with an expanding budget, an expanding mission, and most importantly, conducting a tough war on multiple fronts against a clever, vicious, persistent enemy.

To my mind, the intrepid warriors and great leaders of the command are up to the task. I believe, as one member, that the money we have spent and proposed to spend on SOCOM is money wellspent.

In fact, I cannot think of a higher priority for funding anywhere in the Federal Government than the SOCOM budget. It represents a direct investment in keeping America and Americans safe here at home.

I have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan a number of times over the last 3 years and am always impressed by the quiet, professional resolve and courage of our special forces. They are truly remarkable men and women, anonymously protecting us from the scourge of terrorism. And I am proud to be associated with them in some small way.

Although the focus of the hearing will be on the QDR and associated resource questions, we will consider other matters, as well.

I would like to get our witnesses' views on the record of the sustainability of SOCOM's elite manpower, in light of the fierce competition for the skills of experienced operators and projected growth of the force.

Additionally, I am also interested in exploring the interagency piece of the equation. The global war requires a unified U.S. Government effort across all departments, and this goes outside, incidentally, of the Department of Defense (DOD).

I would like to hear the witnesses' views on how well that effort is going, both here in Washington and in the field operations, and what we may need to do to help.

Secretary O'Connell, General Brown, we truly are here to help you and the warriors under your command, and we look forward to your testimony.

With that, I would like to yield to my friend and colleague, the ranking member, Mr. Meehan, from the great state of Massachusetts.



Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And let me join you in welcoming our witnesses, Secretary O'Connell and General Brown.

Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned in your statement, today's hearing is critically important. The Quadrennial Defense Review reaffirmed the critical role that this Nation's special operations forces are playing in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and around the world.

Special Operations Command, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, is poised to receive yet another boost in its funding, resources and capability. The budget request before us includes a nearly 20 percent increase over the current year, with proposed increases for additional equipment and personnel.

Most important, this budget request includes a plan to reorient the command from its current focus on Iraq and Afghanistan to include other areas around the globe, in essence putting the global back into the Global War on Terror.

While I conceptually support the move to improve the command's ability to fight the long war against terrorism, I remain concerned about the nature and extent of the proposed additions and the backdrop against what these initiatives will be considered.

Our forces, especially our special operations forces, have been stretched and strained, as the uniform rank and file find itself spending ever-increasing amounts of time away from home, for training, and mission assignments. At present, recruitment and retention efforts are challenges.

Even more so, I think it is important that individual standards not be sacrificed. Equipment is experiencing unanticipated rates of wear and tear, given the fact that we have had so much of this equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan for longer periods of times than had been anticipated or planned for.

The command is under investigation by the DOD's Office of Inspector General due to allegations of improper acquisition practices. The rumors abound about the elimination of the command, civilian, policymaking, and immediate oversight for the Office of Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.

In my mind, any robust increase in capability must be balanced against the challenges facing the command. Furthermore, given the present challenges, I think any move to reduce civilian oversight at this time would be a mistake.

As we continue to consider novel approaches in the fight against terrorist networks, the need for and importance of quality policymaking expertise will only grow.

In addition to that, I am concerned and would like to hear specifics relative to our efforts to coordinate our intelligence gathering with the various agencies, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the expansion of the DOD's capabilities.

If we learned anything from 9/11, it is that we have to make sure that we analyze our intelligence and coordinate it in a way that has various agencies working with one another. And I don't think that passing a piece of legislation necessarily changes the culture of organizations or institutions within the Federal Government, so I am interested in how that effort is going.

Again, Mr. Chairman, I am pleased that we are holding today's hearing. I look forward to hearing distinguished witnesses. I thank them for their service to the country and to the Congress.

Thank you.

Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Marty.

We have two great leaders here as witnesses today. And before I introduce them, I have a quick unanimous consent request.

After consultation with the minority, I now ask unanimous consent that Mr. Simmons of Connecticut, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, be allowed to participate in today's terrorism subcommittee hearing and be authorized to question the witnesses. Mr. Simmons will be recognized at the conclusion of questioning by members of the terrorism subcommittee.

Hearing no objection, it is so ordered.

We have, as I mentioned a minute ago, one panel, consisting of two great leaders: one, General Bryan D. Doug Brown, commander of the United States Special Operations Command; and, second, the honorable Thomas W. O'Connell, assistant secretary of defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.

Gentlemen, welcome. Thank you for taking time to be here with us today. And you may proceed as you see fit.


Secretary O'CONNELL. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about our Nation's special operations status and aspects of our current special operations forces, or SOF, posture that allow the United States Special Operations Command to play a leading role in our Nation's current campaigns.

Sir, as you know, Title 10, Section 138 requires my position to provide civilian oversight of special operations activities of the Department of Defense. I attempt to ensure that our SOF are appropriately tasked and employed and that senior policymakers, to include our interagency partners, understand their capabilities, as well as their limitations.

Not only am I an advocate of the U.S. Special Operations Command and our special operations forces, I am also dedicated to ensuring our elements continue to be the best-trained, best-equipped, most flexible and effective fighting force available to our country.

I consult closely with my friend, General Brown, on a wide range of policy issues and participate in his board of directors meetings, which is the command's executive body to develop resource and programs.

This effort produces a SOF program and budget that stresses force readiness and sustainability, provides sufficient force structure to meet the demands of not only the geographic combatant commanders, but General Brown, as his role as a supported commander in the Global War on Terror.

And I would like to recognize the superb efforts of General Brown's deputy commander, Vice Admiral Eric Olsen, for his SOCOM's team work on the Quadrennial Defense Review. SOCOM was well-prepared by General Brown to present an objective blueprint for SOF growth and posture.

They put a combatant commander's fingerprints on their effort, rather than assistant secretaries. And I believe they were highly successful in negotiating the challenges of the Pentagon QDR proc


A key component of that strategy has been the unwavering support of members of this committee, the full House and Senate, in delivering the necessary support, congressional oversight, and critical review for SOF programs and initiatives.

We have had successes and, yes, some setbacks with our program, but I believe we have taken a prudent course in building capacity.

Let me address what that capability might look like as we move forward with this international struggle. We are faced by a network, sometimes structured, of radical extremists who inflict terror with no concern for their innocent victims. These networks will migrate to places where they can survive, operate and grow.

Our challenge then is to develop counternetworks to monitor, isolate, disrupt and destroy hostile elements. SOCOM has started this process. Through an ingenious series of liaison elements, interagency intelligence, and operation centers, and superb collection, analysis and direct-action nodes operating with partner nations, our SOF elements have performed successfully against high-value targets in the central command area of responsibility.

Just as important, all our special forces, Army special forces, Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and special boat units, Army Civil Affairs, Army Psychological Operations, Air Force special operations crews and staff, Air Force combat controllers and weather teams have served SOCOM requirements very well, from their counterinsurgency and foreign internal defense roles in Afghanistan and Iraq to their work in the Horn of Africa.

Most importantly, SOCOM forces operate in the only environment that can lead to success, which is a joint interagency combined coalition.

My position in the Pentagon gives me a unique perspective on a number activities that are slowly but surely moving together to match national and military strategies.

On the stability operations front, we have seen advances in authorities that will allow greater efforts in train and equip missions, peacekeeping initiatives and capacity building, while partnering with the Department of State.

Section 1206 of the 2006 defense appropriations act permits the Department to work through the Joint Staff and combatant_commanders closely to develop initiatives that can be implemented this year. Our counternarcotics portfolio provides very robust authorities that permit maximum flexibility for combatant commanders, as they develop tactics, techniques and procedures to combat smuggles, pirates, narcoterrorists, money launderers, et cetera.

Our foreign counternarcotics training efforts are proving a valuable adjunct to our counterterrorism efforts. Our close partners from the British special operations forces now assist a key Afghan counternarcotics element that has been highly successful in seizures over the last year.

Our resources and technology directorate has played a key role in assisting with the development of Major Force Program 11 budgets and continues superb supervision over the technical support working group managed through our combating terrorism technical support office.

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