Military costs

leosafi

New Member
Hi all,

Does anybody have a general idea of the yearly operating costs of a special forces unit i.e Devgru or Delta force

Many thanks
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Hi all,

Does anybody have a general idea of the yearly operating costs of a special forces unit i.e Devgru or Delta force

Many thanks
Not really, and such information is unlikely to be available, and if it were to be available, the accuracy would questionable. Special Forces capabilities tend to be classified, along with much of the information about them. For instance, the current size of Delta Force is classified, and accurate budgetary figures were available that could suggest the size. If one were to start digging through the US DOD budget, there could be some indicators of what the budget is, but there would likely also be black programmes which could involve and contribute funding to SpecOps which would not be included.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Absolutely agree, the Canadian government and CAF denied that JTF-2 even existed for years. All nations keep their special forces away from the limelight as much as possible.
 

leosafi

New Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Not really, and such information is unlikely to be available, and if it were to be available, the accuracy would questionable. Special Forces capabilities tend to be classified, along with much of the information about them. For instance, the current size of Delta Force is classified, and accurate budgetary figures were available that could suggest the size. If one were to start digging through the US DOD budget, there could be some indicators of what the budget is, but there would likely also be black programmes which could involve and contribute funding to SpecOps which would not be included.
Thats a bummer, thanks for the reply though.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 1 of 3
Does anybody have a general idea of the yearly operating costs of a special forces unit i.e Devgru or Delta force
1. This is going to be how long is the string in a ball of twine type of discussion. As a general rule of thumb, it takes Singapore up to S$6 million and 4 years to train a Special Forces trooper. His special forces basic qualification course is 6 months in duration. Upon completion of the course, he earns the right to go for advanced courses or vocation specific training for the next 3.5 years (be they locally or overseas), before he is assigned to a team.

2. This multi-million dollar cost incurred for each trooper (averaged out for each cohort that start the training cycle)— depending on specialisation, rank and tradecraft — includes medical support, ammunition, missiles and explosives used for the exotic armoury of weapons used to conduct the special forces basic qualification course; and this trooper’s salary and allowances for 4 years.
(i) Other costs after basic qualification include overseas courses, for example, US Army ranger school lasting 61 days, the Q course lasting 143 days, or BUD/S lasting 29 weeks and other fees paid for host nation support for unilateral training, such as, the 65 day Singapore Ranger course (half of which is held overseas).​
(ii) BUD/S is considered one of the most physically demanding courses in the American military because of the intensity and duration of the training, it often claims a dropout rate of over 60%. "Out of over 100 candidates in my batch, only 38 made it," recalls Brandon Choo (BUD/S Class 257). The former Special Warfare Group officer earned his "trident" along with two other Singaporeans after enduring months of gruelling instruction.​
(iii) I have a friend who went through the Singapore Ranger course twice, as he could not complete in the first instance due to medical reasons. Each cohort of operators will incur significant medical costs (as minor injuries are not uncommon). If these minor injuries occurring any time over the 4 years are serious, an injured trooper may spend months in physiotherapy and posted to a non-combat role within the unit before being recycled into a course — the SAF has to bear the cost of these walking wounded.​

3. But this multi-million figure does not actually factor in the host unit equipment, simulators, facilities like the variety of ranges and other incidentals incurred when a trooper is sent there to attend a local course. For example, if a special forces member is sent for:
(i) his compulsory basic airborne course (if he is not already static line qualified prior to his selection) or his military free fall course. These courses are hosted by the Parachute training wing in the Commando Formation as subject matter experts. Incidentally, the aircraft sorties is not costed-in and borne by the air force;​
(ii) his sniper course (if that is his role). This course are hosted by the School of Infantry Weapons — the ammunition, the cadre/trainers and facilities needed to host the trooper for the duration of the course is not costed-in;​
(iii) his basic and advanced combat medic courses (hosted by the School of Military Medicine as subject matter experts) along with his secondment to a hospital for clinical practice, if that is his role. Operational Emergency Medical Care (OEMC) has increased survival rates and strives to:​
(a) treat the casualty with operationally appropriate procedures;​
(b) minimise the effects of injuries;​
(c) reduce preventable deaths;​
(d) prevent additional casualties; and​
(e) complete the mission.​
This can be summed up by a quote from one of the prominent Chief Medical Officer of a renowned Special Operations Command during a post-mortem workshop on tactical medical lessons in Urban Warfare “We have to deal with a combination of medicine and tactics that medical literature will never be able to address adequately. You (Special Operations medics and personnel) will have to use good judgment.”​
(iv) his basic combat diver course (if that is his role). This course is hosted by the Naval Diving Unit in the Navy as subject matter experts — the cadre and facilities needed to host him is not costed-in. Incidentally, the cost of sailing on navy ships and submarines is not costed-in.​


4. The costs incurred in the 4 years to train a member of a tier-one team is small; especially when compared to currency training and special operations support costs at team and national level. While the appointment holders and leaders of each SF Team is even more expensive to maintain (as they are typically serving their in 2nd or 3rd tours), setting up the required the cyber and C2 support — as enablers — is an expensive exercise requiring multi-year funding (see Project Greyfin in the case of Australia) — this includes specialised boats (like the VSV), assault ladders, diving, parachuting, roping and climbing systems and tools for human performance training.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 2 of 3

5. It is hard to calculate the actual cost to deploy, a naval special forces boarding team that is supported by a helicopter and on a warship. For example, the South Korean government sent a destroyer, ROKS Choe Yeong and 30 naval special warfare operators to retake the Korean chemical tanker MV Samho Jewelry and rescue its crew in the Gulf of Aden. When it was all over, the South Koreans had rescued 21 sailors, killed 8 pirates and captured 5 others, said Lt. Gen. Lee Sung-ho, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

6. To support the non-compliant boarding team, it’s naval helicopter and frigate, the SAF deployed a task group of 151 military personnel — in fact, the enablers like support from Maritime Patrol Aircraft supplied by other coalition members are just as expensive to deploy as Singapore’s commitment of a ship and the naval divers.
Below is a video of Singapore’s naval divers training as non-compliant boarding team to deploy for counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden under CTF151.

7. Having proper framework that includes cyber, logistics and C2 support (with the requisite diplomatic muscle and institutional memory to work with other ADMM-Plus countries) is as important as having tier-one forces that are ready to deploy on short notice —in the case of Singapore:
(i) The Special Operations Command Centre provides the SAF's Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) with the capability to centrally plan, monitor and manage multiple counter-terrorism and contingency operations.​
(ii) Having the right framework and enablers is crucial. Without the correct framework and logistics, Singapore’s SOTF could not have seamlessly conducted 6 non-combat evacuation flights, in 4 C-130s, for 450 people from Phnom Penh on 9 July 1997 (in Operation Crimson Angel).​
(iii) A picture published by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) “spoke volumes for the professionalism and reputation of the SAF. It did more to improve the SAF's image than any advertising campaign;" said Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong on 20 July 1997.​

8. Beyond direct action, and hostage rescue (eg. the 1991 SQ117 hijack), Special Forces team members also get requests to protect foreign heads of states, along with the US Secret Service (such as, during the June 2018 Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore) or conduct demonstrations, which are expensive dog and pony shows. These include demonstrations:
(i) for visiting head of states, like King Abdullah’s June 2019 visit to Commando camp in Singapore. During the visit, his Majesty attended a tactical exercise simulating an urban operation and a hostage rescue drill inside a residential complex, a Royal Court statement said; or​

(ii) with foreign counterparts, in activities like the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in Tampa, Florida. Two Singaporeans took part in a public display of America's special operations capabilities (to enable the Americans to demonstrate international operability at SOFIC 2018.​

9. According to David Kilcullen, the future environment will be urban, littoral, and connected. The data suggest that this is the environment in which future conflict will occur. This is not a futuristic prediction, but rather a projection of trends that are evident now, and an assessment of their effects on cities as they exist today. The future is hybrid and irregular conflict combining elements of crime, urban unrest, insurgency, terrorism, and state-sponsored asymmetric warfare — more Mogadishu (1993) in Somalia, Mumbai (2008) in India, Tivoli Gardens (2010) in Jamaica, Zamboanga (2013) and Marawi (2017) in Philippines.

10. While we do not have an annual breakdown for the cost of currency training for an American Devgru operator, the USSOCOM's FY2021 budget request is for US$16.6 billion. Under this budget, USSOCOM has requested a force structure of 67,092 military and 6,831 civilian personnel.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Post 3 of 3

11. There are 5 “Truths” that have guided Recon Marines, Commando or Special Forces (SF) force development and these 5 guiding certainties are:-

One, humans are more important than hardware;​
Two, quality is better than quantity;​
Three, SF cannot be mass produced;​
Four, competent SF cannot be created after emergencies occur; and​
Five, most special operation missions require non-SF support.​

12. Moving forward, in the era of great power competition, USSOCOM is not necessarily going to be in that fight because the whole idea of the strategy is to avoid a kinetic confrontation. As such, from 3 to 5 June 2019, Gen. Richard Clarke visited Singapore to reaffirm the excellent and long-standing defence relationship between Singapore and the US, and both countries' commitment to enhancing regional cooperation to address pressing security challenges, such as the threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia.

(i) At SOFIC 2020, Gen. Clarke, Commander USSOCOM said: “Going after violent extremist organizations (VEOs) is not mutually exclusive to competing with great powers.” The capabilities required of Special Operations Forces fighting violent extremists in places like Asia and the Pacific serve a dual purpose.​

(ii) “By being there, we are also countering great nation states,” Gen. Clarke said to the National Defense Industry Association’s virtual SOFIC 2020. This dual role has implications for the defense industry, Gen. Clarke said. “No longer can we just build counter-VEO capabilities that serve a single purpose. As we look at the precision, lethality and mobility requirements as examples, we absolutely have to develop them so they can compete and win with Russia and China, but they could also work in a counter VEO fight,” he added.

(iii) USSOCOM’s top priority is next generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, Gen. Clarke said. That means sustainable ISR technology that “can provide the capability in both Great Power Competition and working for our SOF teams in remote, austere, short take-off-and land battlefields,” he said. Another priority is next-generation mobility and next-generation effects like the Hyper-Enabled Operator concept. The command is looking to equip the Hyper-Enabled Operator with a collection of useable data from lightweight, body mounted computers, cameras and other sensors to better navigate the future battlespace, which Clarke said would be increasingly “complex, dynamic and lethal.”​

(iv) Hyper Enabled Operators could soon be supported by rear echelon command and control stations featuring machine learning algorithms designed to enhance decision-making processes. Reiterating the JATF’s latest mission statement, Barnes described the current focus of the programme is to “enable partner nation operations competing below the level of armed conflict … using commercial/government off-the-shelf [COTS/GOTS] sensors and communications devices on an industry based architecture to increase shared awareness of the battlespace.​

(v) “We are looking to do that in partner nation operations and unconventional warfare scenarios, which all ties back to the National Defense Strategy,” Barnes added. He noted that advanced analytics generated on board the operator could be processed and exploited at a “higher echelon” before being returned to the operator in near real-time to assist in situation awareness and the decision-making process. Specific lines of effort include: “Operator Worn Computer Kit; sensors and edge computer processing; application development; software-defined, mission, and hardware agnostic architecture; human machine interfaces; information realisation; and beyond line of sight communications”.​

(vi) According to USSOCOM Acquisition Executive Jim Smith, partnering operations can be limited by language translation as well as voice to text and text to voice capabilities.​
 
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