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U.S. Army Special Forces
"The Green Berets"

United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)


The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is one of eight unified commands in the U.S. military's combatant command structure. The formation of the command was a result of the Cohen-Nunn amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1987. The command was activated April 16, 1987 and has approximately 42,000 active, reserve and national guard forces. The current Commander-in-Chief is Army General Henry Hugh Shelton.

In addition to our assigned operational headquarters and forces, the Army, Navy and Air Force special operations schools and centers have been assigned to the command.

The U.S. Army's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School has the two-fold mission of developing doctrine and providing training. Based at Ft. Bragg since 1952, this organization conducts training courses for Army Special Forces, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, Foreign Area Officers, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE). It is also responsible for developing doctrine and new equipment for Army Special Operations Forces.

In November of 1985 the Naval Special Warfare Center was established at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Calif. Its mission is to provide instruction and training for personnel of the U.S. Navy and other U.S. armed forces and allied military personnel in Naval special warfare operations and to be the principal authority for Naval special warfare doctrine in support of the maritime strategy.

The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School, located at Hurlburt Field, Florida, provides special operations-related education to personnel from all branches of the Department of Defense, governmental agencies and allied nations. Subjects covered in the 13 courses presented at the school range from regional affairs and cross-cultural communications to anti-terrorism awareness, revolutionary warfare and psychological operations.

SOCOM'S Missions

  • Prepare assigned forces to carry out special operations, psychological operations, and civil affairs missions as required and, if directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, plan for and conduct special operations.
  • Develop doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures for special operations forces.
  • Conduct specialized courses of Instruction for all special operations forces.
  • Train assigned forces and ensure inter-operability of equipment and forces.
  • Monitor the preparedness of special operations forces assigned to other unified commands.
  • Develop and acquire unique special operations forces equipment, material, supplies and services.
  • Consolidate and submit program and budget proposals for Major Force Program 11.
  • Monitor the promotions, assignments, retention, timing and professional development of all special operations form personnel.


U.S. Special Operations Command crest USSOCOM's distinctive insignia is an adaptation of one originally designed during W.W.II by the first and only director of the Office of Strategic Services, Major General "Wild Bill" Donovan.

Color: The color black represents special operations activities that may be performed under the cover of darkness.

Spearhead: The spearhead, taken from color staffs dating from antiquity, represents the initial force of attack and symbolizes how special operations forces lead the way to subdue the enemy's defenses.

Rings: The three golden rings surrounding the spear are indicative of the forces assigned from the Army, Air Force and Navy.

Stars: The four stars represent the four points of the compass emphasizing our global mission.

Cord: The braided cord encircling the shield symbolizes strength through joining separate forces.

See also U.S. SOCOM's Subordinate Commands

For additional information or assistance contact:

U.S. Special Operations Command
Public Affairs Office
MacDill AFB, FL 33608-6001
Telephone (813) 828-4604


This page is an unofficial document and does not represent information endorsed by the United States Government, the United States Special Operations Command or the United States Army Special Operations Command. However, most information is derived from those sources and has been checked for accuracy. For comments, questions, and suggestions, please go to the Communications Center.

Copyright � 1998-2002 - Stenhammar Viking - All Rights Reserved.

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