As the military prepares to adjust to budget cuts across the board, they'll have to do what’s become routine in the corporate world: Doing more with less.
Even as the military begins to draw down forces in Afghanistan, threats around the world still demand attention. That means an increased reliance on Special Operations Forces, such as Navy SEALs, headquartered on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego.
Special Operations Forces have unique capabilities that make them best suited for many current threats, said retired Vice Admiral Tim LaFleur, who spent almost 35 years in the Navy.
“A big battalion isn't the answer to every problem and sometimes you need a smaller force that is more agile, more capable of doing different things,” he said. “I think that's why there is a lot of talk of relying on Special Operations Forces to meet some of those needs."
But in a time of shrinking budgets, the Special Operations Command's is expected to stagnate.
Their 2013 budget nearly matches their current budget - but that's down by 2 billion dollars from 2011.
LaFleur says that means they'll have to tailor their force as troops leave Afghanistan.
"We'll be using less in those big war zones and more in those other parts of the world where we'll be doing more nation building,” he said.”
LaFleur expects budget pressures to continue to mount, but says the Special Operations leadership is used to stretching their forces.
"I think they're particularly attuned to taking care of the missions, taking care of the families and making sure that we do that right and so I think the special operations community leadership is really the right people at the right time to do this job,” he said.
With the focus shifting to an increased use of Special Operations Forces, the Special Operations community is looking at how to ease the strain of deployments on families by making them more predictable.