WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, held a subcommittee hearing entitled “United States Special Operations Command’s Efforts to Transform the Force for Future Security Challenges.”

The Chairman heard from Lt. General Kenneth E. Tovo, USA, Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command; Lt. General Marshall B. Webb, USAF, Commander, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command; Rear Admiral Timothy G. Szymanski, USN, Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command; Major General Carl E. Mundy III, USMC, Commander, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command; and Lt. General Scott A. Howell, Vice Commander, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, on the current capabilities and readiness of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

Chairman Ernst opened the hearing by highlighting how the “National Defense strategy re-oriented the way the Department of Defense prioritizes its efforts in an increasingly complex and dangerous global security environment.” The Chairman cited a “rising China and an increasingly belligerent Russia” among other adversaries as the Department’s new top priorities along with maintaining a hardline on counterterrorism efforts.

Watch Chairman Ernst’s opening statement here or by clicking on the image below.

The Chairman asked the commanders to describe the most pressing capability gaps within their respective components, or between the components within USSOCOM, that could impact their ability to effectively implement the National Defense Strategy. The commanders identified lack of training time, air systems advancements, interoperability between the components, and gaining the necessary personnel as challenges they currently face.  

Watch Chairman Ernst’s first round of questions and the commander’s responses here or by clicking on the image below.

Chairman Ernst also asked the commanders to share their experiences with the Preservation of the Family and Force (POTFF) program, which provides mental health care services, special gyms, personalized training, and civilian transitional services to meet the unique needs of our USSOCOM service members and their families. The commanders agreed with the Chairman that this important program has proven invaluable for their operators.

Watch Chairman Ernst’s second round of questioning here, or by clicking on the image below.