- The Washington Times - Friday, July 11, 2014

Even America’s elite warriors have a breaking point. Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that he believed troops assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) may be “fraying” from overuse. Gen. Votel is President Obama’s nominee to head SOCOM with the departure of Navy Adm. William H. McRaven.

“I do think there are some things that we ask our special operators to do, manners in which they operate, the secrecy with which they operate, that do not allow them the normal opportunities to talk about things afterwards,” the general said, the Department of Defense reported Thursday. “So I think we do have to address that aspect of it when it comes to our special operations forces and families, and making sure that we provide those appropriate outlets for them.”

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island added to that point, saying that SOCOM’s 67,000 special operators have been going “flat out for more than a decade now … at mach speed,” The Hill reported Wednesday.

Sen. Angus King of Maine also noted the “exhausting” task SOCOM troops faced, but told Gen. Votel that “in a future of unconventional, non-state forces, your people are going to be the point of the spear,” The Hill reported.

Gen. Votel told members of Congress that special operations personnel will remain in Afghanistan post-2014. If Afghanistan signs a security agreement with the U.S., there will be roughly 2,000 special forces deployed to the country, the Defense Department reported.

“Of those 2,000, about half of that, just around 980 or so, are anticipated to be forces that would be directly supporting the [counterterrorism] effort,” the general said, the Defense Department reported.

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The general added that unilateral operations to safeguard the American people would continue, the Defense Department reported.

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