What Are Special Operations?


Special Operations, according to the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Publication (JP) 3-05 are operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These operations often require covert, clandestine, or low visibility capabilities. Special operations are applicable across the range of military operations. They can be conducted independently or in conjunction with operations of conventional forces or other government agencies and may include operations through, with or by indigenous or surrogate forces. Special operations differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets.



Civil Affairs
Clandestine Activity
Hostage Rescue and Recovery
Military Information Support Operations
Foreign Internal Defense
Security Force Assistance
Unconventional Warfare
Countering Weapons of Mass destruction
Direct Action
Foreign Humanitarian Assistance
Preparation of the Environment
Counter-Narcotics Operations
Special Reconnaissance

The Units

US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)    https://www.socom.mil/about


 USSOCOM Warrior Care Program (WCP)  https://www.socom.mil/care-coalition


USSOCOM Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF)             https://www.socom.mil/POTFF/Pages/default.aspx


US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) https://www.soc.mil/


US Special Forces Command (1st SF Command)  https://www.soc.mil/USASFC/HQ.html


US Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC)    https://www.soc.mil/USASOAC/USASOAChomepage.html


US Army 75th Ranger Regiment https://www.soc.mil/rangers/75thrr.html


US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWC)https://www.soc.mil/SWCS/index.htm


US Naval Special Warfare Command (NAVSPECWARCOM) https://www.nsw.navy.mil/


US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) https://www.afsoc.af.mil/About-Us/


US Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) https://www.marsoc.marines.mil/About/


US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) https://www.socom.mil/ussocom-enterprise/components/joint-special-operations-command#

Theater Commands

US Special Operations – Africa (SOCAF):  https://www.socom.mil/socaf


US Special Operations – Central     (SOCCENT): https://www.socom.mil/soccent/Pages/Home.aspx


US Special Operations – Europe (SOCEUR): https://www.socom.mil/soceur


US Special Operations – Korea (SOCKOR)https://www.socom.mil/sockor


US Special Operations – North (SOCNORTH)https://www.socom.mil/Pages/socnorth.aspx


US Special Operations – Pacific (SOCPAC): https://www.socom.mil/socpac


US Special Operations – South (SOCSOUTH)https://www.socom.mil/socsouth