More Will Be Asked of Special Forces & Their Families,
Says SEAL Team 6 Author
A memorable quote from the presidential debates came from President Obama regarding the military: “… we have fewer ships than we had in 1916. Well Governor, we also have also fewer horses and bayonets. Because the nature of the military has changed ... The question is not a game of Battleship or counting ships, it's, ‘What are our capabilities?’ ”
For the next four years, Obama is expected to continue to reshape the military by allocating more resources to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
Military expert J.L. Narmi, author of “SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond,” (www.narminovels.com), says the military’s evolution will inevitably add stress to the already difficult lives of Special Forces members.
“Instead of relying on huge shows of American might – the ‘shock and awe’ bombings -- SEALs and Delta Force operatives will be the ones primarily defending our country and U.S. interests abroad,” Narmi says. “The American public does not have the appetite for another massive war campaign; drone strikes and targeted operations with specialists is the future of combat.
“Special Forces members are some of the most impressive people on Earth, but they’re not robots. They have the most intellectually and physically demanding jobs, and everything’s top secret. That’s an incredibly stressful way to live.”
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Special Operations Command’s budget has quadrupled. Whereas there was once an estimated 40,000 Special Forces members in the military, there are now about 66,000. The goal through the next four years is to increase that number to 100,000.
“The specialized units of the U.S. military have very, very broad shoulders, but my concern is that too few Americans have skin in the game when it comes to war,” Narmi says. “As it is now, about 1 percent of the country is directly affected by our wars, and I’m reminded of Churchill’s quote regarding the Royal Air Force in World War II: ‘Never was so much owed by so many to so few.’ ”
He cites a few potential hot spots that could spread Special Forces thin:
• Iran/Israel: Iranian officials recently claimed to have successfully tested a new air defense system called Mersad, or ambush, which is modeled after a U.S. system. It’s just the latest news to up the ante of anxiety in the region.
• Asia: For most Americans, Asia has fallen off the radar of potential threats necessitating military action. But Islamic extremist groups, which have been problematic for U.S. interests in the past, remain a very real threat. North Korea, too, could turn aggressive at any time.
• Pakistan: Pakistanis’ animosity toward the U.S. has been simmering for years, especially since SEALs flew into the nation’s sovereign airspace to kill Osama bin Laden. The U.S. military is, to say the least, fed up with the leadership of Pakistan, which cooperates with Al Qaeda militias.
• Afghanistan and Iraq: While America managed to pull out of Iraq without looking like a complete failure, the state continues to struggle, and extremist elements could take over at any time. Afghanistan continues to be America’s longest war -- 11 years running. If there’s any progress, it’s very slow, with Afghan soldiers and police in training perpetrating deadly attacks on U.S. troops.
About J. L. NarmiJ. L. Narmi comes from family with deep roots in the military; his brother, retired Rear Admiral Ronald E. Narmi, worked closely with SEAL teams throughout his career. Narmi’s fascination with the Navy SEALs resulted in “SEAL Team 6, bin Laden and Beyond,” which was completed just eight days before the real-life mission that resulted in bin Laden’s death. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and earned his MBA from Creighton University. Narmi is a graduate of the Securities Industry Institute of the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania.