Other than the 10 attributes listed, are there additional qualities desired/expected from a MARSOC Special Operations Officer (SOO)?

The leadership qualities required for success in MARSOC are in line with those required for successful leadership in any Marine Corps unit.  SOO Principles, codified by the Marine Special Operations School, are:

  • Own the institution.
  • Provide leadership at the point of friction.
  • Be able to integrate and combine capabilities.
  • Lead planning, bridging top-down requirements with bottom-up solutions.
  • Influence higher, adjacent, supporting commands and host nation partners to help achieve the desired end state.

When is the ideal time in an Officer's career to submit an application to attend Assessment & Selection (A&S)?

The ideal time to submit an application is after career designation selection, with the intent to attend A&S prior to departing your first duty station.  

NOTE: Officers not career designated can apply to attend an A&S, but you must be career designated to be assigned orders to Individual Training Course (ITC).

When is the earliest and latest an Officer can apply to attend MARSOC Assessment and Selection (A&S)?

As a First Lieutenant, you must have a minimum of two observed fitness reports (minimum 540 fitness report days) and be in zone for promotion prior to submitting your application.  As a Captain, you must begin the Individual Training Course (ITC) with no more than 24 months’ time in grade as a Captain. For First Lieutenants who are in a deployable unit, if you meet the requirements listed above, it is recommended that you attend A&S between your first & second deployment.

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.   


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. 


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

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 videos that focus on proper technique for the breast stroke and side stroke.

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.