US Elite troops are being worked too hard and spread too thin, military commander warns

US Elite troops are being worked too hard and spread too thin, military commander warns, by Vera Bergengruen.

The breakneck pace at which the United States deploys its special operations forces to conflict zones is taking a toll, their top commander told Congress on Thursday.

Army Gen. Raymond Thomas, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, called the rate at which special operations forces are being deployed “unsustainable” and said the growing reliance of the U.S. military on its elite troops could produce a dangerous strain.

“We are not a panacea,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We are not the ultimate solution to every problem, and you will not hear that coming from us.”

About 8,000 U.S. special forces are currently deployed in more than 80 countries, Thomas said. Many are at the forefront of advising missions in Syria and Iraq as well as counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan. There are about 500 special operators in Syria.