Following in the footsteps of its sister Special Operations commands, the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has released its strategic vision for the decade. Titled MARSOF 2030, the document recognizes the necessity to adapt to current and future challenges in an attempt for MARSOC to stay relevant – and well-funded.
To better prepare for the emerging obstacles that lie ahead, MARSOC is undergoing an 18-month restructuring process. During this timeframe, MARSOC’s leadership, in conjunction with the fighting elements, will identify threats and opportunities and try to match them to its capabilities.
More specifically, the MARSOC 2030 strategy has identified four themes that will serve as the main paths of innovation:
- The Cognitive Operator
- MARSOC as a Connector
- Combined Arms for the Connected Arena
- Enterprise Level Agility
The second theme (MARSOC as a Connector) aims to integrate MARSOC’s tactical, operational, and strategic capabilities by small, independent deployable elements that would be able to coordinate interagency actions, thereby enhancing their utility.
“The MARSOC of 2030 will be more connected across the SOF enterprise and the interagency, with agility and adaptability to face and overcome unique challenges,” wrote then-Maj. Gen. Carl E. Mundy III, who formerly commanded MARSOC and now leads the United States Marine Forces Central Command. “Future Raiders will seek out and apply an ever broader set of organic capabilities and have the ability to connect with external partners who possess capabilities that are not resident in our own units. In the uncertain conflicts of tomorrow, Raider formations will build upon their current strengths to illuminate complex problems and provide an understanding that informs action.”
In addition, MARSOC plans to add about 400 new personnel to its ranks through the fall of 2022. This infusion of manpower will allow the command to reach its full authorized size for the first time since its establishment 13 years ago. Not all of these Marines, however, will be Raiders. A fair share of them will be support personnel and enablers.
Yet for some, MARSOC’s greatest strength stems from its small and agile structure. “From a component level, we’re a very flat organization,” said Maj. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, MARSOC’s current commander, in an interview with the magazine Special Operations Outlook. “We have a little more than 200 civilians and active-duty personnel in my headquarters. About 80% of the whole component is available for deployment. So we can turn and focus on problem sets we’re tasked by SOCOM much more agilely than some of the other SOF components. Having a flatter command and control organization, the ideas are both bottom-up and top-down driven.”
Established in 2006, MARSOC is the latest addition to the U.S. Special Operations Command. It is comprised of three Marine Raider Battalions, which contain four Marine Special Operations Companies, with each company having four Marine Special Operation Teams.
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