Force Recon is what most people think of when they hear “Marine Recon”. There are a lot of similarities between Recon Battalion and Force, but also some pretty big mission differences. The biggest difference between the two units is Direct Action, which Force is tasked with. Along with DA, Force is also tasked with Deep Reconnaissance and works directly for the Marine Expeditionary Force.
Traditionally, Force Recon Company was its own unit. In the late 90s they were put into Recon Battalions as Charlie or Delta companies, but soon became their own units again. With the onset of MARSOC, Force Companies were actually disbanded and most of the operators flowed over to the newly created MSOBs (Marine Special Operations Battalions). However, this severely limited the Marine Expeditionary Units Direct Action capabilities, especially because now Force nor SEAL platoons were floating. After a few years, Force Recon Companies were reactivated once again under Recon Battalion to provide the MEU with both amphibious reconnaissance (Recon Battalion) and Direct Action capabilities (Forec Company) while under way on float.
There are 3 active duty Force Companies and 2 reserve companies.