GAO Report on SOF – Preservation of Force and Family


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report on U.S. special operations and the performance of the Preservation of Force and Family Program (POTFF). This document was published in April 2023 and is 42-pages long (PDF).

“The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) established the Preservation of the Force and Family Program about a decade ago to address strains that special operations forces and their families can face. The program was designed to provide a holistic system of care that focuses on physical, psychological, spiritual, cognitive, and social areas of well-being. The program offers services including physical therapy, injury care, psychological treatment, family counseling, and peer mentoring.”

The POTFF is intended to reduce the strains placed on U.S. SOF. It is designed to improve the readiness and resilience of roughly 74,000 SOF and their families. POTFF offers SOF personnel direct access to a range of sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and performance nutrition. The POTFF offers workshops and training for families to help them prepare for and reintegrate after deployment.

The program, established in 2013, was created in response to recommendations from a task force that identified issues contributing to the strains and pressures experienced by SOF and their families from multiple deployments and busy training schedules. It was designed to fill the gap not filled by existing programs provided by the conventional military services and defense-wide agencies.

USSOCOM has established a program evaluation framework for the force and family program in January 2023. However, the GAO has found a number of ‘issues’ with this evaluation program relating to defining performance goals and measures, challenges in data collection and analysis, and lack of a detailed program evaluation plan.


Special Operations Forces: Actions Needed to Assess Performance of the Preservation of the Force and Family Program, GAO-23-105644, Government Accountability Office (GAO), April 2023, PDF, 42 pages.



POTFF Brochure, USSOCOM, PDF, 2 pages

Special Operations Forces: Additional Actions Needed to Effectively Manage the Preservation of the Force and Family Program, Government Office for Accountability (GAO), GAO-22-104486, December 16, 2021, PDF, 56 pages.

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