United States Special Operations Command

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands (SOC or SOCOM) of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense. USSOCOM is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

The idea of a 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. 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 ongoing War On Terror.

USSOCOM conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, psychological warfare, civil affairs, direct action, counter-terrorism and War on Drugs operations. Each branch has a Special Operations Command that is unique and 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.

Read more about United States Special Operations Command:  History, Current Role, Tier System, List of USSOCOM Combatant Commanders, USSOCOM Medal

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