MARSOC trains, organizes, equips, and deploys task organized, scalable, and responsive U.S. Marine Corps SOF worldwide in support of CCDRs and other agencies, when directed by the commander of USSOCOM. A U.S. Marine Corps Major General commands MARSOC (COMMARFORSOC) with a support staff that is designed to be compatible with the functional areas within USSOCOM and HQMC. MARSOC headquarters is responsible for identifying Marine special operations requirements; developing Marine SOF Tactics, Techniques, Procedures (TTPs), and doctrine; and executing assigned missions in accordance with designated conditions and standards.
MARSOC currently consists of approximately 3,000 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and civilian employees, with an ultimate growth target of 3,255. MARSOC includes three subordinate commands:
Marine Raider Regiment (MRR), which consists of three Marine Raider Battalions:
• 1st MRB at Camp Pendleton, CA
• 2d MRB at Camp Lejeune, NC
• 3d MRB at Camp Lejeune, NC
Marine Raider Support Group (MRSG), which consists of three Marine Raider Support Battalions:
• 1st MRSB at Camp Pendleton, CA
• 2d MRSB at Camp Lejeune, NC
• 3d MRSB at Camp Lejeune, NC
Marine Raider Training Center (MRTC) at Camp Lejeune, NC, which consists multiple branches focused on the assessment, selection, basic and advanced training of MARSOF personnel.
In October 2005, the Secretary of Defense directed our Corps to form a service component of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in order to provide forces to the Commander, USSOCOM. On 23 February 2006, MARSOC’s headquarters was formally established. Since its inception, MARSOC has maintained a high operational tempo of special operations, deploying units that ranged in size from Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs) and reinforced Marine Special Operations Companies [MSOC (Rein)] to Marine Special Operations Task Forces, all in support of the geographic combatant commanders.
Over the years, MARSOC has conducted missions in over 30 different countries. Many of these missions have been focused on strengthening partner counter-terrorism capabilities, assisting with counter narco-terrorism efforts, and providing subject matter expertise and training to partner forces. In 2009, MARSOC deployed its first Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) HQ, built around a Marine Special Operations Battalion, to Afghanistan. Since then, MARSOC has deployed 9 SOTF HQs in support of CENTCOM requirements. In 2016, MARSOC also deployed a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) HQ, led by a Marine Colonel, to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. MARSOC’s second CJSOTF HQ just completed its deployment to Iraq at the end of 2017.
From 2009-2014, MARSOC primarily focused on operations in Afghanistan. Starting in 2015, MARSOC operationally reoriented to better support the GCCs in the post-OEF environment. MARSOC’s forces are now regionally focused in order to provide persistently forward deployed, reinforced Marine Special Operations Companies [MSOC (Rein)] to U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Africa Command.
The MARSOC training continuum produces reinforced MSOCs capable of full spectrum special operations, with particular emphasis on skills related to partner nation capacity building. The three battalions of the MRR and MRSG have been regionally oriented to effectively produce this capability in support of these combatant commands. In addition, each forward deployed MSOC (Rein) is also attuned to the unique regional requirements of their deployment area, including language capability and any specific regional tactical capabilities.