The militaryâs Special Operations Forces are the first boots on the ground in a combat zone and usually, the last ones out.
So said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen at the National Defense Industrial Associationâs Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Symposium.
And, even as he had high words of praise for the special operations forces, saying they were the âbest weâve ever had,â the time is now to being preparing for a future âtransition,â the U.S. militaryâs highest-ranking officer said.
Itâs also a time for questions as the nation heads into its 10th year of combat.
âHow long can we do it?,â Mullen said. âSomehow, weâve got to figure out how to create a little more balance as we look to the future.â
Budget pressures that continue to squeeze the department have also proven how important finding the right balance is.
âEvery dollar counts and we have to figure out how to spend our money wisely,â he said. âAt some point in time -â and I certainly donât speak to the wars that weâre in, because we canât back off there -â but at some point in time, we have to ask ourselves, âWhat are we going to stop doing?ââ
It will be difficult, though, as putting the brakes on is not something the military typically trains for, the chairman suggested.
âWe are built to run through walls, or as we say in the Navy, bulkheads,â he explained. âWe are not built to stop, ever. We are built to succeed in these missions, which we must continue to do.â
But, the Pentagonâs leaders will have to find ways to prioritize missions to âsustain the force,â the American Forces Press Service characterized his remarks.