Accession Number:



U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

Congressional Research SVC

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Special Operations Forces SOF play a significant role in U.S. military operations and, in recent years, have been given greater responsibility for planning and conducting worldwide counterterrorism operations. U.S. Special Operations Command USSOCOM has about 70,000 Active Duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel from all four services and Department of Defense DOD civilians assigned to its headquarters, its four service component commands, and eight sub-unified commands. In 2013, based on a request from USSOCOM with the concurrence of Geographic and Functional Combatant Commanders and the Military Service Chiefs and Secretaries, the Secretary of Defense assigned command of the Theater Special Operations Commands TSOCs to USSOCOM. USSOCOM has the responsibility to organize, train, and equip TSOCs. While USSOCOM is responsible for the organizing, training, and equipping of TSOCs, the Geographic Combatant Commands will have operational control over the TSOCs. Because the TSOCs are now classified as sub-unified commands, the services are responsible to provide non-SOF support to the TSOCs in the same manner in which they provide support to the Geographic Combatant Command headquarters.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]