Moving Slowly Toward the Baseline

US Special Operations Command is still heavily reliant on supplemental war funding to cover the costs of its activities, but is slowly incorporating the costs of its overseas operations in its baseline spending request, said Adm. Eric Olson, SOCOM commander. Of the $10.5 billion in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2012 budget request for special operations forces—a seven percent increase compared to the Fiscal 2011 request—34 percent would come from accounts specifically set aside for operations in places like Afghanistan, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. For some “higher intensity SOF elements,” the percentage of funding provided by these overseas contingency operations coffers is “greater than 75 percent,” he noted. The command does have a plan in place to transition away from reliance on OCO funding in the coming years as operations wind down in Southwest Asia, said Olson. “Overall, we are in a fiscally satisfactory condition, but the force requires continued support,” he said. (Olson prepared statement)