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WASHINGTON — Legislation approved Wednesday by a US House subcommittee fully supports the Obama administration’s plan to budget special operations forces for more than $12 billion in 2014.
Moments before the House Armed Services intelligence, emerging threats and capabilities subpanel approved its part of the full panel’s 2014 Pentagon policy bill, Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said the legislation fully funds the administration’s special operations request.
In its military budget request, delivered to Congress in April, the White House proposed spending $12.4 billion on America’s elite commandos next fiscal year. If enacted by Congress, that would make special ops one of the few parts of the Pentagon’s annual budget expected to grow during the sequestration era.
The $12.4 billion would help grow the ranks of the nation’s most-lethal killers by 10,000, to a force over just over 70,000 commandos.
Subcommittee leaders said they authorized the administration’s funding level because special operators are taking on a larger role in U.S. military operations, a trend they expect will expand in coming years.
The legislation also would require Pentagon brass to “review and assess the organization, missions, and authorities related to U.S. special operations forces and U.S. Special Operations Command and to provide a report to the congressional defense committees.”
If enacted in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act later this year, that report would have to spell out all “policy and civilian oversight structures for special operations forces within the Department of Defense.”
Notably, the legislation would require the report to cover “current and future special operations peculiar requirements of the commanders of the geographic combatant commands, theater special operations commands, and command relationships between United States Special Operations Command and the geographic combatant commands.”