'Global Demand' Stretches Special Ops

Equipment, too, has been forthcoming from the Pentagon. Among the more recent technologies SOCOM displayed for reporters from ABC News and elsewhere, over the past week, was the V-22 Osprey, the military's most controversial aircraft. It has been dogged by cost and safety problems -- 30 people have died in Osprey crashes.

But the aircraft has important assets the Pentagon wanted. Though it lifts off like a helicopter, which is important in war zones where surface-to-air missiles are a threat, it flies like a plane and banks like a Ferrari.

The command also has fielded the specially equipped M-RAP vehicle, a mine-resistant truck designed to replace the Humvee, that includes a remote-controlled gun that allows the gunner to remain safely inside the vehicle.

Adding equipment has been relatively simple, with the cooperation on Capitol Hill. The challenge, commanders said, is to add thousands of the nation's most specialized troops, who take years to train. In the meantime, many special operators are returning multiple times to the war zones for seven-month tours of duty.

Maj. Gen. John F. Mulholland Jr., SOCOM's regional commander in the Central Command, responsible for both wars, said he sees strain from the repeated deployments to the war zones, but he said the force is not breaking.

"They endure losses, wounds, so to say that there's not strain or stress there would be false. It is certainly there. What's incredible is their resiliency is just phenomenal," Mulholland told ABC News in an interview.

"It is absolutely tough. I think our men and families are equal to it -- the men and women and families are equal to it -- and we are trying hard to grow the force, take care of the force, so that whatever our country continues to demand of us, we are equal to."

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