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GAO Report – Special Operations Forces: Additional Actions Needed to Effectively Manage the Preservation of the Force and Family Program

The GAO has released a new report on USSOCOM’s Preservation of the Force and Family Program which boasts a budget of about $80 million in FY 2021.

The program offers a holistic system of care that targets physical, psychological, spiritual, and other areas of well-being. However, key program terms aren’t well defined, making it unclear how subordinate commands will carry the program out and achieve its goals.

What GAO found is that although SOCOM has established minimum requirements for its Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) program to improve the readiness and resilience of Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their families, it has not clearly defined a key term—integrated and holistic system of care—to guide implementation of its efforts across the five POTFF domains (see figure). SOCOM officials interpret this key term differently and SOCOM guidance does not provide clarity on how subordinate commands should implement activities to achieve it. Without defining an integrated and holistic system of care or how to achieve it, SOCOM leaves interpretation of the term to subordinate commands and is unable to establish a standard for POTFF’s essential coordination functions or activities against which it can assess efforts to help SOF and their families.

GAO is making five recommendations, including that SOCOM update its guidance to define its objective to coordinate POTFF programs, establish an allocation model that uses program data, develop a deployment strategy that aligns with its updated allocation model, and develop guidance for POTFF data that aligns with SOCOM’s strategy for managing data. DOD concurred with all five of these recommendations.

Read the report here:

www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-104486

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