Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) train, organize, equip and deploy task organized, scalable and responsive Marine Corps special operations forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders and other agencies.

History & Heritage

marsoc (10)Its creation was announced on 23 November 2005 by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, following a meeting between him, the USSOCOM commander General Bryan D. Brown, and the Marine Corps Commandant General Michael Hagee on 28 October 2005. MARSOC was officially activated on 24 February 2006 with ceremonies at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The potential participation of the Marine Corps in SOCOM has been controversial since SOCOM was formed in 1986. At the time, Marine Corps leaders felt that their Force Reconnaissance units were best kept in the Marine Corps’ MAGTF command structure, and that the detachment of an “elite” Marine Special Operations unit from the Marine Corps would be to the detriment of the Marine Corps as a whole. A re-evaluation following the 11 September attacks and the War on Terrorism, along with new policy established by Secretary Rumsfeld and then-Commandant Gen. James L. Jones at The Pentagon, caused the Marine Corps to work towards integration with SOCOM.

marsoc (8)The establishment of MARSOC represented the most significant step towards that goal, and followed the establishment of MCSOCOM Detachment One (DET1), a small Marine Corps detachment formed as a pilot program to test Marine Corps integration into SOCOM. It was made up of mostly Force Recon Marines from 1st and 2nd Force Reconnaissance Companies along with other hand picked support men and served with Navy SEALs under Naval Special Warfare Group One. Detachment 1 conducted a multitude of special operations in Iraq alongside their Special Operations brothers of the sister services. SOCOM conducted a study of the unit’s deployment, which clearly indicated success and strong performance. Detachment 1 was disbanded in 2006 soon after the creation of MARSOC.

Initial milestones established by USSOCOM

  • 24 Feb 2006 – MARSOC HQ activated at Camp Lejeune.
  • 17 July 2006 – MARSOC designated SOF by SecDef and assigned to SOCOM.
  • Full Operational Capability: 8 October 2006
  • The first Marine Special Operations Individual Training Course began at Camp Lejeune on 6 October 2008.

Mission Set(s)

  • Stability Operations (SO)
  • Foreign Internal Defense (FID)
  • Counterinsurgency (COIN)/Support to Unconventional Warfare
  • Direct Action (DA)
  • Special Reconnaissance (SR)
  • Security Force Assistance (SFA)
  • Counterterrorism (CT)
  • Support to Major Combat Operations (MCO)

Screening & Selection

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Selection of the right personnel begins with a rigorous screening process designed to identify the right Marines for the right billet within MARSOC. Operational billets

are open only to males. Only those Marines wanting to serve as special operators, as opposed to support, must attend Assessment and Selection (A&S); however, all Marines are screened to ensure that the Marines joining MARSOC meet the established prerequisites for duty within the command. Screening takes place in 3 stages: record screening, physical screening, and a psychological and medical evaluation.

The Individual Training Course is a physically and mentally challenging 7-month course designed to produce Critical Skills Operators who can operate across the spectrum of special operations in small teams under spartan conditions. ITC uses a building block approach; the training rigor will systematically increase to mimic the complexity and stresses of combat. During ITC students are under constant observation from the instructors as well as their peers. ITC is broken down into four training phases.

More information on recruiting requirements > http://www.marsoc.marines.mil/Recruiting.aspx