The newest of United Special Operations Command’s components, Marine Corps Special Operations Command was founded in 2006, following an experiment with MCSOCOM Detachment-One.

Despite not having a long history in SOF, they also weren’t burdened with an organizational structure created during the Cold War. Instead, they leveraged capabilities found within the Corps and stood up a command with multiple disciplines including traditional Special Operators, Terminal Attack Controllers, Intelligence specialists, EOD and K9. Just like with standard Marine Corps units, medical support is provided by selected and trained Navy Corpsmen. Furthermore, MARSOC developed specialized training for all of their personnel l including logistics and communications. They have done a fantastic job at operationalize all of these capabilities.

If I were in one of the other components, I’d read this. They are coming for your missions.

MARSOC continues to evolve. This document shows us what they bring to the fight. Download it here.

33 Responses to “MARSOF 2030”

  1. jellydonut says:

    If the SEALs keep jackassing and ending up in the media for all the wrong reasons as they have been doing for almost ten years now, they’re gonna get deactivated and have these guys take over their missions.

    • Jason says:

      No doubt. It’s past time relatively young sailors with no combat arms experience stop being thrust into roles better suited to other, more experienced Soldiers and Marines.

  2. Israel Hoffman says:

    I think I remember an incident in Afghanistan that got them bootedfrom theater for a bit?

    • Amer-Rican says:

      Are you referring to the NOW EXONERATED Raiders of ‘MARSOC 7’? They were proven innocent.

    • Gear Guy says:

      All of those Marines have been exonerated and their commander is a friend of mine. I have served with many of the plank owners from 1st MSOB and there is plenty of room at the table for the Marines and Sailors from MARSOC who truly are exceptional warriors and operators. So take your haterade someplace else, if your only data point is from a political kerfuffle, because you’ve got no business commenting here.

    • corsair says:

      Those Marines were cleared several years ago.

      Try to keep up.

  3. El Terryble says:

    The Marine Corps was “Special Operations” a 150 years before that term was even invented, be it in America’s first conflict against jihadis when Capt. Presley O’Bannon raised the Colors in Tripoli over captured enemy territory for the first time in American history; using sharpshooters positioned in the riggings of ships to board vessels on the high Sea to the small wars in Honduras, Panama, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua , and elsewhere, to forming the first American military commando units in World War II – Marine Raiders, the precursor to today’s MARSOC Raiders of MSOB. Marine Raiders are continuing in the illustrious footsteps of their forbears who served in our beloved Corps as they set about forging the preeminent commando unit in the world in conjunction with other elements of SOCOM, Naval Special Warfare, and our intelligence services.

  4. Rob371 says:

    Some of my favorite guys to work with.

  5. El Terryble says:

    Standing up MARSOC in 2006 was beneficial for the Marine Corps for several reasons 1). Marines are a natural fit for the Special Operations community due to their amphibious nature and expertise in areas such as Sniping, Reconnaissance, Infil/Exfil, Direct Action, and COIN/Small wars 2). Standing up MARSOC illustrated the need for an indigenous “Special Operations” component for use by the MEU, MAGTF, or landing force to provide special reconnaissance, long range reconnaissance, and other missions deemed necessary by the Combatant Commander in support of the conventional maritime operational component and distributed operations against a near peer competitor. Before providing a Marine component to USSOCOM, this function was handled by Force and Battalion Reconnaissance, but since they were not part of USSOCOM they did not receive the funding, training, and equipment necessary to hone their abilities to the necessary level. Now with Marine Raiders being solely a USSOCOM asset, even Battalion Reconnaissance is receiving the prerequisite training and equipment to adequately support the future operating concept in support of the GCE and ACE of the MEU, MAGTF, or Maritime Force in the littorals and indigenously build this capacity using lessons learned from MARSOC.

    • John says:

      Nah. SOCOM already has all those expertise in spades through out the SF Groups and NSW. MARSOC is an unnecessary duplication of capability and therefore a drain on the SOCOM budget. MARSOC is one budget crisis away from being canned so SOCOM can fund more important things. But it would seem even MARSOC understands this judging by their intense self reinvention.

      • Gear Guy says:

        So much conjecture and false information in your post that you probably believe Hillary won the election. Leave the haterade alone dude, your SEAL bias is showing.

      • El Terryble says:

        Obviously, you’re a subject matter expert with impeccable credentials making DoD budget policy decisions regarding resource allotment to the Tier 1 SOF community, so I’ll take your word for it. But, if SOCOM is so good – not to take anything away from the best America has to offer, just their strategic guidance and utilization- and doesn’t need an infusion of new blood and a new way of thinking, why did it take SOCOM and it’s concomitant intelligence apparatus, why did it take ten years to get Osama bin Laden after 9/11? And why is Ibrahim al Baghdadi and Amman al Zawahiri still alive?

      • jellydonut says:

        This take might have found interested ears in 2006, but these days you would have to be living in a cave to not take note of the zeitgeist.

        Have you not noticed SEAL units being stood down and removed from theater, repeatedly? SEALs in joint SOCOM units fucking up at intermittent but steady rates?

        The command that is about to be canned, if there is one, is NSW. And MARSOC is waiting in the wings.

  6. bushmen23 says:

    Sounds like someone is trying really hard to justify the existence of an organization the Marine Corps doesn’t want and USSOCOM didn’t ask for. There wasn’t a need for MARSOC in 2006 and many are arguing that there isn’t a need for them now. El Terryble’s second paragraph makes that argument in spades. USSOCOM had (and still has) plenty of expertise in Sniping, Reconnaissance, Infil/Exfil, Direct Action, and COIN/Small wars and the USMC had Battalion and Force Recon to “provide special reconnaissance, long range reconnaissance, and other missions deemed necessary by the Combatant Commander in support of the conventional maritime operational component.” MARSOC was a nice to have, not a need to have.

    • El Terryble says:

      MARSOC was necessary in that the civilian command authority at the time wanted

    • El Terryble says:

      MARSOC was necessary in that the civilian command authority at the time, namely the SECDEF, Donald Rumsfeld, a Navy man, wanted a Marine contingent to the joint force of SOCOM after 9/11 had illustrated the need in SOCOM for what are inherent Marine core competencies and capabilities; and due to the long history of conflict and mistrust between the Marine Corps and Army (broadly discussed in LtGen Victor Krulak’s book “First to Fight:An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps”) had precluded the Marines from providing assets to SOCOM. There’s an economic term relevant to the discussion at hand called “comparative advantage” which states that a nation or a company should produce that which they can produce more efficiently than their competition. Why is it the the United States’ preeminent commando unit is comprised of sailors, when the service that provides those commandos is tasked with functions that doesn’t provide the most efficient allocation of those resources? The answer to that question resides in the historical relationship between the Navy and the Marine Corps and the degree to which Navy and Marine commando’s were interoperable during World War II. Donald Rumsfeld saw a need for a Marine contingent to SOCOM to provide capabilities that the Marine Corps has a comparative advantage in compared to the other services.

      • Roy says:

        “Why is it the the United States’ preeminent commando unit is comprised of sailors, “

        I did not realize that SFOD-D is comprised of sailors? Somebody should tell them.

        • El Terryble says:

          Funny, I didn’t see SFOD-D on the Bin Laden raid. If you’re the go to Tier 1 unit for the National Command Authority, you’d think you would be given the highest priority missions.

          • 18 Series Dude says:

            If the Unit had executed that mission, you wouldn’t have known. The fact that you think Blue is the go to, shows you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Hex says:

            That was ST-6 mission, and had been since circa 2003/4

            SFOD-D’s primary mission was IZ and AQ-I.

            Those choices had largely made a nearly a decade earlier.

            They are both a component of the National Mission Force and to elevate either of them above the other is a subjective mistake.

          • Dave says:

            The raid that launched a thousand books.

            2011 was 8 years ago, and some say a certain unit didn’t display much interest in setting their best dudes aside for weeks on a mission that may or may not have gone ahead while they had things to do…

            • Terry Baldwin says:


              No, that was not the case. Hex has it right. JSOC made the decision to dedicate ST6 to Afghanistan / Pakistan and SFOD-D to Iraq several years earlier.


      • Bushmen23 says:

        yeah, I am not taking away anything from MARSOC’s contributions since 2006, however, the glossy, over-glorified view you of MARSOC you desperately want to portray isn’t a reality. This has nothing to do with who is better than whom, who is more innovative than whom, or comparative advantage. The Department is taking a hard look at redundant or under-performing capabilities and the case is being made that MARSOC is one such element. It was a nice to have but the real question is, “is it a need to have?” That is great that Donald Rumsfeld (Navy man and all) wanted MARSOC but the USMC still doesn’t want, nor know what to do with it and SOCOM largely sees it as duplicative. Just the facts.

        • El Terryble says:

          Well, if what you say is true (which IMHO it isn’t), and the Marine Corps doesn’t want MARSOC (which may well be true, but there is nothing HQMC can do about it b/c if you had read the document cited in the article, once they stood up MARSOC in 2006, it received Title X status under U.S.C., which means that Congress would have to repeal that statute for it to go away), that throws a wrench into the entire workings of USSOCOM, because SOCOM is almost a service in and of itself, whose overt purpose is to conduct JOINT Operations at the area, theater, Combatant, or national command level in the Special Mission domain. If the Marine Corps contingent to SOCOM were to be stripped, making SOCOM an Army-Air Force-Navy entity, like it was until 2006, then the Marine Corps would demand funding and a stated number of seats at schools for its indigenous “Special Forces”, or its own Navy-Marine Corps entity to be able to perform its Title X obligations as directed after World War II, circumventing SOCOM, and subject to the Maritime or Fleet Commander. With the primary external threat to the United States being China or a nuclear armed regional actor, the Joint Force and SOCOM benefit from MARSOC and its relatively small contingent of 1800? Marines and sailors far more than the Marine Corps does. The current trajectory after nearly twenty years of terra-centric warfare for the Marine Corps is Naval integration with Navy proper. Marine Commandos will be required by both the Joint Force and the Navy-Marine Corps warfighting concept that is emerging from the desks of the CNO and the new CMC. MARSOC will remain at USSOCOM, because the next war will be one that integrates special missions with the conventional force. Army and Air Force Special Operators are great at what they do, but why have a Soldier or Airman do, what a Marine has a comparative advantage in regarding the maritime, amphibious, and expeditionary domains?

  7. mudd says:

    Similar capabilities are not a bad thing, America needs more capacity for when the inbox of assholes stacks up.

    It’s good that a special kind of Marine will have a place to go to instead of leaving the Corp after growing weary of an over regimented lifestyle not offering new challenges.

    MARSOC will undoubtably come up with novel TTP&E, and surge capacity, that will benefit the broader SOCOM.

    The biggest threat to MARSOC will be the USMC itself. Non-critical skills qualified operators will be transferred over laterally and ruin units. MARSOC will have to come up with a Ranger-Regt RASP II – like program to ensure senior people can fully understand, participate and perform to standard.

  8. CapnTroy says:

    I don’t see the need, all Marines are Ranger-qualified as it is…

  9. Scott says:

    As a former soldier, I have to say that I am really impressed by the members of MARSOC and their quiet professionalism. They didn’t turn out to be the chest thumping blowhards that I expected them to be. They bring great credit to the USMC.

    • SSD says:

      And then, two of them decided to help some SEALs murder an Army SF NCO. They’ve got a lot to overcome after that.