United States special operations forces

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United States special operations forces (SOF) are components of the Department of Defense's United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The U.S. military definition of Special Operations Forces according to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms is "Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF".[1] The definition in the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms references Joint Publication 3-05.1 – Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations (JP 3-05.1) as its source.[1][2]


Component commands
★★★ Represents a unit led by a Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral
★★ Represents a unit led by a Major General or Rear Admiral (upper half)
★ Represents a unit led by a Brigadier General or Rear Admiral (lower half)

Joint Special Operations Command[edit]

Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) ★★★[6]

United States Air Force[edit]

Air Force Special Tactics Commandos training in Jordan

United States Army[edit]

Army Rangers during a training operation.

United States Marine Corps[edit]

Marine Raiders fine-tune Visit, Board, Search and Seizure skills.

United States Navy[edit]

Navy SEALs during night operation in Afghanistan.
  • Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM) ★★[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group ONE[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group TWO[6]
      • SEAL Team 2[6]
      • SEAL Team 4[6]
      • SEAL Team 8[6]
      • SEAL Team 10[6]
      • Logistics Support Unit 2[6]
      • Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Unit 2[6]
      • Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Unit 4[6]
      • Naval Special Warfare Unit (NSW) 10[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group THREE[6]
      • SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1)[6]
      • Logistics Support Unit 3[6]
      • SEAL Delivery Vehicle Detachment 1[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group FOUR[6]
      • Special Boat Team 12 (SBT-12)[6]
      • Special Boat Team 20 (SBT-20)[6]
      • Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22)[6]
      • Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS)[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group TEN[6]
      • Support Activity 1[6]
      • Support Activity 2[6]
      • Mission Support Center[6]
      • Cultural Engagement Unit[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Group ELEVEN[6]
    • Naval Special Warfare Center[6]
      • Basic Training Command[6]
      • Advanced Training Command[6]

SOF career fields[edit]

United States Army[edit]

  • Sustainers
  • Army Special Operations Aviators
  • Military Intelligence and other Special Operations/Support with enlisted Special Qualification (SQI) Identifier "S" or "K9" for Officers.

United States Marine Corps[edit]

  • Special Operations Capabilities Specialist
  • Combat Services Specialist

United States Navy[edit]


United States Air Force[edit]

* Not all PJs/CROs are assigned to AFSOC; many are assigned to Rescue Squadrons within ACC, PACAF, and USAFE. There is no difference in training or selection between Rescue and Special Tactics assignments.[16]

** ALO/TACP Airmen must undergo additional selection and training to be assigned to AFSOC Special Tactics Squadrons. Most are assigned to ACC and support conventional Army Units.[17]

U.S. special operations centers, schools, and courses[edit]

  • International Special Training Center (ISTC) – Pfullendorf, Federal Republic of Germany
  • Joint Special Operations UniversityHurlburt Field
  • Advanced Special Operations Techniques Course (ASOTC) – Fort Bragg
  • John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School – Fort Bragg
  • Military Free Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (ATIC) – Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona
  • Naval Special Warfare CenterCoronado, California
  • Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command, Imperial Beach, CA
  • Recon and Surveillance Leaders Course (RSLC) – Fort Benning, Georgia
  • Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat (SFAUC) – Fort Bragg
  • Special Forces Combat Diver Qualification Course – Key West, Florida
  • Special Forces Sniper Course (SFSC) – Fort Bragg
  • Special Forces Advanced Targeting Reconnaissance Target Analysis Exploitation Techniques (SFARTAETC)
  • Special Forces Physical Surveillance Course
  • SOF Sensitive Site Exploitation, Technical Exploitation Course
  • SOF Sensitive Site Exploitation, Operator Advanced Course
  • Special Forces Master Mountaineering Course (Level 1)
  • Special Forces Senior Mountaineering Course (Level 2)
  • Winter Warfare, Mountain and Cold Weather Operations
  • Special Forces Technical Surveillance (SFTSC)
  • Marine Special Operations SchoolCamp Lejeune
  • US Army Ranger Assessment and Selection Program (RASP) – Fort Benning, Georgia
  • US Army Small Unit Ranger Tactics (SURT) – Fort Benning, Georgia
  • USAF Combat Dive Course – NDSTC Panama City, Florida
  • USAF Combat Control School – Pope Field, North Carolina
  • USAF Pararescue Recovery Specialist Course – Kirtland AFB, NM
  • USAF Special Operations School – Hurlburt Field, FL
    • Special Tactics Training Squadron
  • Special Operations Terminal Attack Control Course (SOTACC), Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona[18]
  • JTAC Advanced Instructor Course – Nellis AFB, NV[19]
  • Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Naval Air Station Fallon, NV
  • US Navy Rescue Swimmer school, Pensacola, Florida
  • US Coast Guard Special Mission Training Center, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b special operations forces. Dtic.mil. Retrieved on 2014-05-24.
  2. ^ "Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations" (PDF). 26 April 2007. p. GP-15 (Glossary page). Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "SOCOM 2014 Factbook" (PDF). 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 December 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  4. ^ Special Operations Command South
  5. ^ U.S. Special Operations Command, North (Provisional Command) > U.S. Northern Command > Article View. Northcom.mil (2013-05-16). Retrieved on 2014-05-24.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp SOCOM Public Affairs (2015). SOCOM Fact Book 2015 (PDF). SOCOM Public Affairs.
  7. ^ a b http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/8125/shedding-some-light-on-the-pentagons-most-shadowy-aviation-units
  8. ^ http://www.jcu.mil//
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "1st Special Operations Group fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "24th Special Operations Wing fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "27th Special Operations Wing fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d "919th Special Operations Wing fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  13. ^ a b c "352d Special Operations Wing fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d "353rd Special Operations Group fact sheet". 1 July 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center". 1 July 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  16. ^ https://www.pararescue.com/unit-info
  17. ^ http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/858167/policy-changes-allow-airmen-to-retrain-into-special-ops/
  18. ^ http://www.yumasun.com/news/military_news/air-force-becomes-newest-ypg-tenant/article_86301f97-82f9-57a8-8f72-c741ed862483.html
  19. ^ "Enlisted heroes receive graduate-level education at Weapons School". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.

External links[edit]