AIR FORCE NEWS

AFSOC Wants to Divest Some Missions

12/15/2020
By Stew Magnuson

Air Force photo

A shifting security environment is forcing Air Force Special Operations Command to rethink its missions and relationships, its commander said recently.

“It’s clear that we are at an inflection point as significant for us as Sept. 11, 2001 was. It’s not marked by a singular event, but it is clearly marked by a shifting security environment,” said AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife.

The AFSOC of the future must be different than the one of today, he said.

“If you accept that proposition, and if you accept the proposition that we will have flat or declining resourcing with which to work, the only conclusion that one can come to is that we have to stop doing some stuff.”

Some of the missions the command has undertaken over the last 20 years when Special Operations Forces were heavily involved in the global war on terrorism will have to be reduced, or be taken on by other services, he said during a talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

AFSOC flies the specially converted AC-130 gunships, CV-22 Ospreys and MC-130 fixed-wing aircraft used for exfiltration and infiltration, several models of small and medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles, and about a dozen other specialized aircraft.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy emphasizes great power competition, and although counterterrorism missions will not completely go away, they are not the focus they once were, the document said.

“We have to divest to invest. We’re not going to be able to transform ourselves if we don’t stop doing some of the things that perhaps have been very dear to us for the last 20 years,” Slife said. “They may not necessarily be relevant to the future.” He described these missions as “commodity activities” requiring capabilities that are not necessarily unique to AFSOC.

“We’re not the only people that do these things, but we’ve taken them on because maybe it was easier to do it for ourselves,” Slife said.

Part of the command’s shift will be a closer relationship with the Air Force, he said.

“What I can uniquely provide to SOF is the connective tissue to my parent service. And so I’ve been focusing pretty hard on looking for those opportunities to draw that connective tissue back a little more closely together between my service and the United States Air Force,” he said.

Topics: Air Force News

Comments (2)

Re: AFSOC Wants to Divest Some Missions

The following few words are just as valid here now as they were elsewhere whenever said earlier, and they also in complete agreement with the thoughts of AFSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Jim Slife. To deny their veracity and attack any creative applications resulting from enthusiastic engagement in the premise has one identified as being stuck in a perverse and corruptive rut which is ultimately, inevitably and increasingly quickly, self-destructive as others not so hindered and obstructed move way out ahead in fields never ever before believed so easily possible and most advantageous ....... great game changing and leading. "And please, before anyone passes any sort of opinion on the above, just ask yourself two simple questions ....... Is it sane/insane to expect the future to be a completely different reality from/in the past which in its heydays, was as the present is nowadays, here and now? The posit here is that it is perfectly normal and the sooner it is embraced the greater the exponential reward derived and given to one ..... which is one helluva heavenly driver which more than just a few would tell you has no Universal Peer and no Viable COSMIC Competition or Opposition." It is wise though to realise that whereas it may be a novel revelation to some, for others is it a space they know extremely well and in which they be as Grand Masters and Mistresses/Virtual Wizards and Witches. For some that be wise, can that be very comforting to know that one's course is a tried and tested root and enlightening route to presently as yet unknown riches, and also to the tempting tempestuous pitfalls should one veer to far off a charted course in search of exclusive activity with a guarantee of immunity from accountability and responsibility for resultant failure of infallibility. Take care out there. IT is a wild jungle and it and AI take no prisoners nor suffers the fool and their avaricious tools.

GrahamC at 2:54 AM
Re: AFSOC Wants to Divest Some Missions

Of course, divestiture is not new or deviant. But the Golden question is, “divest in what?” Since it may end up cost-passing to other services

Kevin p at 8:20 AM
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