Special Operations: June 14, 2005


The U.S. Marine Corps has agreed to turn over a force of 2,500 specially trained marines to SOCOM (Special Operations Command.) Bowing to pressure from the Department of Defense, and SOCOM, the marines are the last of the services to make such a contribution. Created in 1987, SOCOM gained control over army Special Forces (including Civil Affairs, Psychological Warfare and special helicopter units), navy SEALs and air force commandoes and special aviation units. But the marines said they had nothing to offer. 

The marine SOCOM force will consist of 400 marines trained to provide military instruction for foreign armed forces. This has long been a Special Forces chore, and will still be. But the addition of marine training troops will take some of the pressure off Special Forces to provide this service. 

The marines will also provide over a thousand marines trained as "special operations-capable." The marines have been training some of their troops to be "special operations-capable" for over a decade. But SOCOM has different standards, and skill requirements. Once the "special operations-capable" marines are turned over to SOCOM control, SOCOM will provide additional training. As part of this deal, the SOCOM marines will be available for Marine Corps operations when SOCOM doesnt need them. Its likely that once SOCOM gets control of these marines, they will keep them busy indefinitely. 

Finally, the marines will provide some support units. These will include stuff like dog handlers (and dogs trained for military tasks), some logistical units and an Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company.

SOCOM will also keep control over Special Operations Detachment 1, a force of 86 marines trained as commandoes. SOCOM originally wanted as many as 4,000 marines, and the final deal may result in the marines giving up more than 2,500 troops.


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