The Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) appears to be short on active-duty operators, a report indicates.

As 2019 faded away, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report that reveals a crisis in the making for the Air Force’s elite. Like almost every other Special Operations Command, during the last years, AFSOC has been forced to call up reserve operators, either from the Air Force Reserve (AFR) or Air National Guard (ANG), to complement its active-duty squadrons, which are undermanned. This issue highlights the retention “crisis” that is common throughout the Special Operations community — it is especially pronounced in some units.

Equally troubling, however, is the fact that the process of calling up reservists is not as smooth as one would expect at that level. The GAO report found that the issue stems from “AFSOC’s limited organizational capacity to conduct the planning, coordination, and execution of involuntary mobilizations.” An involuntary mobilization is when reserve troops are being called to active duty.

Currently, there are six reserve Rescue Squadrons (RQs), also known as Guardian Angels, coming from both the AFR and ANG. RQs specialize in Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) and Personnel Recovery (PR). Additionally, there are two Special Warfare Squadrons, both belonging to the ANG.