What Does MARSOC Do?

MARSOC’s core activities are:

Direct Action

We conduct short strikes and small-scale offensive actions to seize, destroy, capture, recover, or inflict damage in hostile or denied areas. 

Special Reconnaissance

We acquire information about the capabilities, intentions, and activities of an enemy. 

Preparation of the Environment

We collect intelligence and prepare for future operations at the direction of USSOCOM.

Security Force Assistance

We support the security forces of allied foreign governments to achieve operational objectives the U.S. shares.   

Counterterrorism

We prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. 

Foreign Internal Defense

We provide training and other assistance to foreign governments and their militaries to enable them to pro vide for their national security. 

Counterinsurgency

In concert with allied governments, we conduct military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic action operations to defeat insurgency.



If these FAQs do not address your questions, please call our information hotline at 888-93-MARSOC.

How is MARSOC different from recon?

MARSOC conducts missions by direction of the SOCOM Commander. These missions are normally conducted in irregular and unconventional settings. MARSOC Marines receive additional training with Special Operations Equipment and Tactics in order to fulfill these missions. USMC Recon conducts missions as part of the MAGTF in support of conventional operations.



If these FAQs do not address your questions, please call our information hotline at 888-93-MARSOC.

Do I need to be an excellent swimmer?

Candidates should meet the current Marine Corps intermediate swim qualification for initial screening, and will receive further training at Assessment and Selection Phase I.

Swim Assessment as follows:

  • Conduct abandon ship drill from a 6 meter platform (in accordance with CWS- 4).
  • Swim 300 meters continuously in utility blouse and trousers without combat equipment (CBE) and boots using the breast stroke or side stroke.
  • Tread water in a utility blouse and trousers unassisted for 11 minutes then transition to the survival float using the blouse or trouser for floating for four minutes.
  • Must demonstrate confidence in the water and the ability to remain afloat.

For those of you preparing for Assessment and Selection, additional aquatic preparation guidance can be found on page 23 of the 10-week training guide and log (5.3 mb PDF), and the following videos that focus on proper technique for the breast stroke and side stroke.



If these FAQs do not address your questions, please call our information hotline at 888-93-MARSOC.

How much time will my Marine spend away from home?

Operational tempo can vary widely depending on the mission your Marine’s team is performing. A MARSOC Marine trains—sometimes away from home—to prepare for deployment and to ensure mission success. There is no “typical deployment,” but most pre-deployment training is 10-12 months followed by a 6-9 month deployment. After a deployment, time with family is a command priority for MARSOC Marines.

Throughout your Marine’s career at MARSOC he will have the opportunity to break up his operational tempo with schools and non-deployable billets.



If these FAQs do not address your questions, please call our information hotline at 888-93-MARSOC.

What will my Marine do on his deployments?

MARSOC carefully screens, selects and trains special operators to perform specialized missions throughout the world.

Your Marine will operate in a small, highly-skilled and immaculately-trained team of Marines. MARSOC teams are bound by trust and cohesion and work effortlessly together—giving them an advantage over many military units.



If these FAQs do not address your questions, please call our information hotline at 888-93-MARSOC.