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U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARFORSOC)

Last Revised: February 10, 2017, 11:04 am

In October 2005, the Secretary of Defense directed our Corps to form a service component of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to provide forces to the Commander, USSOCOM. On 23 February 2006, MARFORSOC’s headquarters was formally established at Camp Lejeune, NC. MARFORSOC 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 MARFORSOC (COMMARFORSOC) with a support staff that is designed to be compatible with the functional areas within USSOCOM and HQMC. MARFORSOC 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.

MARFORSOC currently consists of approximately 3,000 Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and civilian employees, with an ultimate growth target of 3,255. MARFORSOC 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.

Since its inception, MARSOC has maintained a high operational tempo of special operations deployments, ranging in mission and unit size from Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs) and reinforced Marine Special Operations Companies [MSOC (Rein)] to Marine Special Operations Task Forces in support of the geographic combatant commanders. MARSOC has conducted missions in over 28 different countries, with most focused on training partner forces, assisting in counter narco-terrorism efforts and providing other subject matter expert guidance to partner nations. In 2009, MARSOC deployed its first Special Operations Task Force HQ, built around a Marine Special Operations Battalion, to Afghanistan, and recently deployed a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force HQ, led by a Marine Colonel, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

Through 2014, MARSOC primarily focused on operations in Afghanistan. Starting in 2015, MARSOC operationally reoriented in order 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, U.S. Africa Command. The MARSOC training pipeline 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 regionally oriented to effectively produce this capability in support of these 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.

MARFORSOC Core Activities.

Special Operations require unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, and training. They are often in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments. MARFORSOC is composed of regionally focused and operationally astute Critical Skills Operators (CSO) and Special Operations Capability Specialists (SOCS) who make up the reinforced MSOCs that are forward deployed to conduct shaping, deterrence, and crisis response operations. USSOCOM has tasked MARFORSOC with providing specially trained units in the following SOF core activities:

  • Direct action (DA)
  • Special reconnaissance (SR)
  • Security Force Assistance (SFA)
  • Counter-insurgency (COIN)
  • Foreign internal defense (FID)
  • Counterterrorism (CT)
  • Information Operations (IO)

MARFORSOC is also tasked to provide support for Civil Affairs Operations, Military Information Support Operations (MISO), Unconventional Warfare (UW) and Counter Proliferation operations, as well as training, equipping, planning for, and providing forces to execute SOF C2.

MARFORSOC Subordinate Units

Marine Raider Regiment (MRR). The MRR provides tailored, military combat-skills training and advisor support for identified foreign forces, in order to enhance their tactical capabilities and to prepare the environment as directed by USSOCOM as well as the capability to form the nucleus of a joint special operations task force. Marines and Sailors of the MRR train, advise, and assist host nation forces - including naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces - to enable them to support their governments' internal security and stability; to counter subversion; and to reduce the risk of violence from internal and external threats. MRR deployments are coordinated by MARSOC through USSOCOM, in accordance with engagement priorities for overseas contingency operations. MRR HQ is located at Camp Lejeune, N.C..

The three MRBs are organized, trained, and equipped to deploy for worldwide missions. Each battalion is commanded by a Marine Lieutenant Colonel and is made up of four MSOCs, which, when designated for deployment, are reinforced with personnel uniquely skilled in communications, intelligence, fire support and special equipment support. Each MSOC is commanded by a Marine Major and is capable executing the above listed core activities in support of the Geographic Combatant Commanders. MSOCs are also uniquely organized and tailored to conduct distributed operations with counter-insurgency expertise and language and cultural capability. Each of the 4 MSOTs within the MSOC is designed for limited split-team operations and trained to conduct FID, DA and SR missions both unilaterally and with partnered nation forces.

Marine Raider Support Group (MRSG). The MRSG provides support capabilities for worldwide special operations missions as directed by the COMMARFORSOC. The MRSG specifically provides all-source intelligence fusion, combined arms coordination, multi-purpose canine capability, special operations communications, and combat service support capabilities to MARSOF through its three MRSB, each aligned to a MRB. The MRSG deploys its capabilities in tailored operational support detachments integrated with MSOTs, MSOCs, and SOTFs as determined by deploying Commander’s problem framing and tasked by COMMARFORSOC.

The three MRSBs of the MRSG have a habitual support relationship with the three MRBs of the MRR. Each MRSB is organized with a Communications Company, an Intelligence Company, and Logistics Company, as well as Fires, Multi-Purpose Canines and the additional personnel required to reinforce deploying MSOCs.  The MRSG is located at Camp Lejeune, NC.

Marine Raider Training Center (MRTC). The MRTC screens, assesses, selects, and trains Marines and Sailors for special operations assignments in MARFORSOC. MRTC also provides initial and advanced individual special operations training for both CSOs and SOCS and serves as MARFORSOC’s training and education proponent in support of MARFORSOC requirements. The MRTC is located at Camp Lejeune, NC.

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