Over the past decade, the number of U.S. special operations forces (SOF) personnel has nearly doubled, while budgets for special operations have nearly tripled, and overseas deployments have quadrupled, according to a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.
“Special Operations Forces are elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate into hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified,” the CRS report explains. “SOF personnel undergo rigorous selection and lengthy specialized training. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees the training, doctrine, and equipping of all U.S. SOF units.”
Following an overview of the structure of U.S. special operations forces, the CRS report discusses the implications for special operations of recent legislation including the 2012 defense authorization act. See U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, January 11, 2012.
Other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following:
Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process, February 1, 2012
The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2012
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues, January 12, 2012