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United States Special Operations Forces

United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) are components of the Department of Defense's United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The U.S. military definition of Special Operations Forces according to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms is "Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF".[1] The definition in the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms references Joint Publication 3-05.1 - Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations (JP 3-05.1) as its source.[1][2]

List of SOF units

Joint Special Operations Command

Joint Special Operations Command[3][4]

United States Army

Army Rangers during a training course, 2011

United States Navy

Navy SEALs desert training exercise, 2004

United States Air Force

United States Marine Corps

SOF career fields

United States Army

  • Sustainers

United States Marine Corps

  • Special Operations Capabilities Specialist
  • Combat Services Specialist

United States Navy

United States Air Force


* Note: ALO/TACP are not inherently designated SOF, only ALO/TACP belonging to Special Tactics Squadrons which are under AFSOC, the vast majority of TACPs/ALOs are in Air Support Operations Squadrons which belong to Air Combat Command.

U.S. Special Operations centers, schools, and courses



  1. ^ a b special operations forces. Retrieved on 2014-05-24.
  2. ^ "Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations". 26 April 2007. p. GP-15 (Glossary page). Retrieved 2013-09-19. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be "SOCOM 2013 Factbook". 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw "SOCOM 2014 Factbook". 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Enlisted heroes receive graduate-level education at Weapons School". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Special Operations Command South
  7. ^ U.S. Special Operations Command, North (Provisional Command) > U.S. Northern Command > Article View. (2013-05-16). Retrieved on 2014-05-24.


  • United States Department of Defense (5 June 2003). "US DOD Dictionary of Military Terms: Joint Acronyms and Abbreviations". United States Department of Defense. United States of America. Retrieved 11 January 2004. 
  • CSM Eric Haney (retired, former Delta Force operator and founding member) (2002). Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit. Delacorte Press. ISBN . 
  • Linda Robinson (2004). Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces. PublicAffairs. ISBN . 
  • Mark Bowden (1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern Warfare. Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN . 
  • Sean Naylor (2005). Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. The Berkeley Publishing Group. ISBN . 
  • "Special Forces Units". Retrieved 8 October 2006. 

External links

  • David Ignatius: Learning to Fight a War - Washington Post, 2008-02-10
  • Simon J. Powelson: Enduring engagement yes, episodic engagement no: lessons for SOF from Mali - Naval Postgraduate School, 2013
  • Photographic history of the U.S.Army's 1st Air Cavalry Division's LRRP / Rangers in Vietnam 1968.
  • Special Operations Community Website
  • US Special Operation Forces – 2009 SOCOM Factbook
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