Monday, March 09, 2020

Special Forces Crisis Response Force scaled back ...

A move that foreshadowed the decision to disband the CRFs took place earlier this year. In January, the American embassy in Baghdad came under siege by Iraqi protesters and Iranian-back militias before and after the targeted killing of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani. However, Central Command (CENTCOM), the combatant command that is responsible for that Area of Operations, and Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), a sub-unified command responsible for Special Operations in the same AOR, decided to deploy a Marine element instead of A Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (A/1/5), the CRF unit responsible for the Middle East. The message was clear – we don’t need you.

A senior CRF operator told SOFREP that “the CRF hasn’t been gainfully employed since the end of 2011, and other than that, the National Mission Force [Joint Special Operations Command] can get there just as fast. That’s why all of the other ones are on the chopping block.”

And there’s the rub. When you have Tier 1 Special Mission Units, such as Delta Force and SEAL Team 6, whose primary role is to respond to CT and HR scenarios across the world, CRFs feel somewhat redundant and a luxury. And manning and maintaining CRFs is far from cheap.

In addition to the standard Special Operations schools, all CRF operators have to go through the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course (SFARTAETC) and some through the Special Forces Sniper Course (SFSC), both of which last nine weeks. Much time and money, thus, is invested in a capability that isn’t being utilized.

As of the time of this publication, USASOC hasn’t commented.

I'm a fan of US Army Special Forces but I see the problem that exists for all of SOCOM.

If everyone is doing raids then no one is unique, and if you start encroaching on Seal Team 6/Delta Force missions then you're gonna get slapped down hard. Additionally the big bad has finally reared its ugly head.  SOCOM ain't cheap.

The whole enterprise needs to determine what it offers going into the future or we'll see the CRF being cut back as just the start of massive cuts.  Where do they fit in with regard to super power competition?  Do they have a role to play in a major conventional war?  Do they need the massive infrastructure that's been built up if overall numbers are reduced?

Lots of questions...few answers.

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