Friday, June 14, 2013

House panel says no to separate Spec Ops family programs

I recall back prior to 9-11 when the division between Major Force Program (MFP) 11 and MFP-2 was very distinct and that if the Service provided a service common capability then MFP-11 (SOF) funds could not be spent for that capability.  The Services were also required to provide support to SOF at the same level as for other non-SOF units.  MFP-11 funds could only be spent for SOF-unique requirements while the services funded all service common support.

So the issue is are these programs SOF-unique?  It appears that the House Appropriations Committee is saying no and that there are adequate service programs to support SOF.  Looks like the HAC is going to go back to pre-9-11 funding procedures.

The one thing that is SOF-unique in my opinion is the important investment in education and the partnered program between the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and the National Defense University for the Irregular Warfare Masters degree program.  There is no other service program that can provide a like number of SOF Officers, Warrant Officers, and NCOs this education.  Hopefully the funds that are being transferred to NDU will be used to continue to support the program at Bragg.

■Denied $7.5 million for a new advanced education program for SOCOM, of which $3.6 million was to fund a National Defense University satellite master’s degree program for special operators. Lawmakers transferred that $3.6 million to the budget for National Defense University, and denied $3.9 million for new and expanded programs because of concerns about duplication and requirements. 
SOCOM is working on formalizing its unique education requirements, and lawmakers ordered a report on these efforts.


House panel says no to separate Spec Ops family programs

Jun. 14, 2013 - 01:04PM   |  

Staff writer

The House Appropriations Committee has taken steps to block the U.S. Special Operations Command’s efforts to create separate programs for mental health, education and family resiliency.
In an era of tight budgets, the committee said, it’s important that “Major Force Program-11” funds be used for their original purpose — to provide funding for unique special operations needs.

In some cases, SOCOM asked for funds to establish new programs or activities that duplicate existing military programs. In others, the command is seeking to assume responsibility for activities that were previously, and more appropriately, funded by the services, according to the committee’s explanatory report accompanying its version fo the 2014 defense appropriations bill.

The bill next goes to the full House for approval.

Adm. William McRaven, SOCOM commander, has said in various forums this year that he is concerned about the health of the spec ops force and their families, which according to a 2011 command report was “frayed.”

Lawmakers said they understand the toll of the wars on all service members and their families, and appreciate McRaven’s focus on the psychological health and well-being of troops and their families.
But they stated that the mental health of all service members, including special operations personnel, is best addressed within the Defense Health Program to ensure the highest quality of care for all service members.

In response to defense officials’ request for $21.3 million for the psychological health and well-being of special operations forces and their families, the committee transferred that money to the Defense Health Program. The committee stated it supports expanding the services’ successful behavioral health programs to the special operations community.
(Continued at the link below)

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