U.S. Special Operations Command

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Group.png U.S. Special Operations Command  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
United States Special Operations Command.svg
AbbreviationUSSOCOM, SOCOM
Parent organizationUS/Department/Defense
HeadquartersMacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida
LeaderUSSOCOM Combatant Commanders
TypeSpecial operations
Subgroups• Joint Special Operations Command
• Special Operations Command – Joint Capabilities
• United States Army Special Operations Command
• United States Naval Special Warfare Command
• Air Force Special Operations Command
• United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command
InterestsCovert action, War

Not to be confused with its subordinate Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM or SOCOM) is the unified combatant command charged with overseeing the various special operations component commands of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force of the United States Armed Forces.

USSOCOM is involved with clandestine activity, such as direct action, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, psychological warfare, civil affairs, and counter-narcotics operations.

Each branch has a distinct Special Operations Command that is capable of running its own operations, but when the different special operations forces need to work together for an operation, USSOCOM becomes the joint component command of the operation, instead of a SOC of a specific branch.


The idea of an American unified special operations command had its origins in the aftermath of Operation Eagle Claw, the disastrous attempted rescue of hostages at the American embassy in Iran in 1980. The ensuing investigation, chaired by Admiral James L. Holloway III, the retired Chief of Naval Operations, cited lack of command and control and inter-service coordination as significant factors in the failure of the mission. The command is part of the Department of Defense and is the only unified combatant command created by an Act of Congress.

Since its activation on 16 April 1987, U.S. Special Operations Command has participated in many operations, from the 1989 invasion of Panama to the current War on Terror.

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