More and More

Yet another study urges an even greater increase in the size of Air Force Special Operations Command’s foreign aviation training force. That is just one of several suggestions outlined for the new Administration in a recent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment report on Special Operations Forces. Others pertaining to AFSOC—there are equally ambitious suggestions for the other components of US Special Operations Command—include expanding the command’s fixed wing fleet, fielding a stealthy transport, creating additional unmanned aerial vehicle squadrons, and adding more special tactics squadrons. Expanding AFSOC’s 6th Special Operations Squadron, the unit charged with providing combat aviation training for foreign militaries, has been a pressing concern for USSOCOM for several years as Pentagon policy has focused more on irregular warfare and building partnership capacity. The last Quadrennial Defense Review called for AFSOC to double the size of the 6th SOS from about 110 to 230 special advisors. However, CSBA concludes that the “anticipated demand for combat aviation advisors far exceeds the projected capacity.” AFSOC itself has advocated forming an entire wing of aviation advisors, with at least four times the current personnel. The CSBA study echoes that recommendation and goes even further, saying, “Specially trained aviation advisor squadrons within each numbered Air Force [of other major commands] could conduct joint training and partner-capacity building exercises on a routine basis with foreign air forces.” CSBA does not believe this latter group would have special operations training but rather would serve as an “ideal pool for recruiting individuals for AFSOC’s combat advisor training program.”