Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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tacticaldefensemedia.com 18 | May 2016 | Armor & Mobility | Unmanned Tech Solutions SOF Leadership Roundtable Q&A dynamically contribute to the Theater Special Operations Commander's (TSOCs) requirement. For example, MARSOC is currently leading the mission command for the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) in Iraq. Over the past ten years MARSOC personnel in all aspects of SOF operations and support, both officer and enlisted have greatly contributed to the unique Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) approach MARSOC brings to the SOF mission set. Our people, not equipment, make the critical difference in our success. MARSOC continues to be an agile force, grounded in both the Marine Corps and SOF ethos. MARSOC units are in high demand among the TSOCs due to its reputation for professionalism and combat-proven small unit tactics, cultural awareness and operations-intelligence integration at all levels. We are Marines first and we bring the strong Marine ethos of honor, courage and commitment to special operations. A&M: How have the drawdown in Afghanistan, the rise of ISIS, growing operations and potential conflicts in the Arctic, renewed Russian adventurism in Eastern Europe, China's rapid growth in military capability – and pressures on both Taiwan and Japan – increased emphasis on Africa, etc., impacted MARSOC's training, equipment requirements and potential future deployments? Maj. Gen. Osterman: Although I will not comment on any specific operational actions we have taken or are planning to take, I can describe what we are doing globally in a general way. Since the drawdown in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has regionalized our operational forces in order to provide better support to the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs) in three key regions: U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), U.S. Central Command (CENTOM), and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). To that end, MARSOC maintains a persistently forward deployed reinforced Marine Special Operations Company (MSOC) in each of these three regions. These reinforced MSOCs can execute the full spectrum of special operations, and MARSOC will maintain our forward capability persistently in each region through rotational deployments. While each deployed MSOC is task organized according to theater requirements, they share common characteristics. Each reinforced MSOC combines a healthy mix of combat, combat support and combat service Marines and sailors into a cohesive team. The MSOC can then be employed as a single entity, as separate Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOT) or in even smaller elements, depending on mission requirements. By being forward deployed, the MSOC is more agile in response to emerging theater requirements and more able to conduct sustained, meaningful partner nation engagements in accordance with the objectives of the TSOC in concert with the Combatant Commander's Theater Campaign Plan. A&M: How do you see MARSOC's role within SOCOM continuing to evolve into the 2020s? Maj. Gen. Osterman: While MARSOC continues to provide persistently present reinforced Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs) to three Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs), we have also expanded our contributions to overall Special Operations Forces (SOF) Mission Command. We are partnered with Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) to provide a 0-6 Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) Headquarters (HQ) in support of the efforts in Iraq and we are also exploring ways to contribute 0-5 level Command and Control (C2) capabilities. As we move forward, I see the demand for small, agile Special Operations Forces (SOF) C2 nodes increasing, with MARSOC's contributions to those requirements increasing as well. A&M: After a decade of land-based deployments – and many of its younger members never having been to sea – how is MARSOC looking to connect with the MEUs and Navy at sea? Maj. Gen. Osterman: MARSOC fully supports, with both manpower and exercise support, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) program to deploy a Special Operation Forces Liaison Element (SOFLE) with each Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) team. It is important that I note to you that the SOFLE is not a MARSOC unit. It is a six man liaison element made up of Special Operations Forces (SOF) members from across the USSOCOM enterprise – United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) and MARSOC. The SOFLE advises and informs the MEU commander and his staff on SOF capabilities and actions that are relevant to their training, exercises and operations. Marine Raiders with 1st Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Raider Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, provides security while conducting a simulated night-raid on a warehouse in Los Angeles, CA. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier/Released)

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