The “SOF Touch”

How MARSOC can contribute to strategic competition
>GySgt Hopper is a Marine Raider with infantry and special operations experience that spans three theaters of operations. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in International Service with American University School of International Service and a Master of Science in Defense Analysis in Special Operations and Irregular Warfare at the Naval Postgraduate School.

As the United States shifts some of its focus from counterterrorism toward strategic competition with near-pear competitors, U.S. special operation forces (SOF) are left to figure out how they will contribute to U.S. strategic efforts. Of all U.S. SOF, Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is poised to provide the “SOF Touch” needed in today’s strategic competition continuum. Where and how MARSOC can contribute its SOF Touch will first be defined by its orientation toward an objective and the development of concepts to achieve that objective.

To develop an objective, MARSOC should first view adversarial gray-zone operations as a front line in the strategic competition continuum. Today, many U.S. allies and partners face security challenges brought about from Russian or Chinese gray-zone operations. These adversarial irregular warfare operations undermine the international rules-based order and are meant to coerce or deter competing states by means below the threshold of armed conflict. Many U.S. partners and allies are left with few options for answering the security challenges brought about by adversarial gray-zone operations and turn to the U.S. for assistance. U.S. SOF need an objective of countering adversarial gray-zone operations and, by doing so, will also need to develop an indirect approach that undermines these adversarial irregular warfare campaigns.

MARSOC can work to counter adversarial gray-zone operations with an indirect approach by working to streamline the United States’ security cooperation with the partners and allies that are subject to these adversarial operations and work toward aligning U.S. government resources to counter them. MARSOC can affect adversarial gray-zone operations with an indirect approach that works to streamline existing U.S. security cooperation efforts with the partners and allies that are subject to these adversarial operations and work towards aligning the U.S. government resources best suited for the situation. The current U.S. security cooperation system contributes over $6.5 billion annually in military assistance to U.S. allies and partners worldwide. However, the system could be improved with a deeper inception of the U.S. SOF into current security assistance programs. The injection of U.S. SOF into the security assistance process will not only streamline development but will also provide emplacement and access for U.S. SOF globally and better tie U.S. SOF to the various U.S. country teams as a resource for solving problems in their respective regions.

With an objective for the U.S. SOF to disrupt adversarial gray-zone operations, MARSOC should develop an indirect special operations approach that consists of two concepts. The first is the creation of special warfare campaigns that are directed toward degrading adversarial gray-zone operations. The second is constructing specialized teams within U.S. country teams to conduct better security force assistance (SFA) centric operations with allies and partners. With the design of this new concept, MARSOC will be able to provide the much-needed SOF Touch in today’s strategic competition continuum.

A Need for Change in U.S. SOF’s Approach to Global Operations
For the past two decades, U.S. SOF has been heavily occupied with conducting counterterrorism operations. This employment led U.S. SOF to become primarily focused on a direct approach to conducting special operations. SOF’s direct approach was mostly conceptualized through direct action operations such as conducting raids on enemy compounds or kinetic operations that were unsuitable for conventional military forces to navigate.However, it is believed that reliance on a direct-only approach is insufficient when combating U.S. adversaries and that the U.S. SOF should readjust part of its efforts toward an indirect approach as well.A successful approach is one that realigns U.S. SOF toward global campaigns that work through partner-nation forces and U.S. agencies to combat global issues.3

In a 2013 report to the Council on Foreign Relations, titled “The Future of U.S. Special Operations,” the author Linda Robinson presents the shortcomings of U.S. SOF and provides recommendations for ways U.S. SOF can approach the future operating environment. Robinson explains that the lack of an indirect approach and orchestrated efforts to use special operations capabilities for long-term effects “remains the most serious operational deficit.”4 The issue is that a direct approach to conducting special operations is easy to understand and compose, but an indirect approach is difficult to conceptualize and develop.5

Robinson’s report suggests recommendations that the U.S. SOF should produce a doctrine for special operations that describes how special operations forces achieve decisive or enduring impact through the surgical application of force coupled with long-term campaigns of enabling and operating with various partners, in conjunction with other government agencies. This doctrine should include a theory of special operations that describes how they can achieve strategic or decisive impact, particularly by affecting the political level of war.6

Robinson’s recommendation is exactly where MARSOC can fit into the space of strategic competition. MARSOC possesses the ability to create a force that can provide the framework for an indirect approach in the current operating environment of strategic competition.

Adversarial Gray-Zone Operations are the Battlefields for MARSOC to Compete Against Strategic Competitors
Working through partners and allies in contested spaces should be the framework for MARSOC’s indirect approach to strategic competition. For the United States to strengthen its alliances and partnerships in its bid to maintain a competitive edge in great-power competition, MARSOC should focus on addressing the individual security needs of those allies and partners that directly contend with China or Russia in some capacity.MARSOC could further narrow its focus to disputes that allies and partners have with China or Russia where military applications across multiple domains can play to some effect. One arena for MARSOC to concentrate on is enabling U.S. allies and partners to combat adversarial gray-zone operations.

A significant example of a recent state-sponsored gray-zone campaign is China’s decades-long territorial expansion in the South China Sea (SCS). Gray zone refers to the space where states compete in multiple spheres by unorthodox means to derive the intended results of coercing or gaining an advantage over an opponent without starting a conventional conflict.China’s campaign consists of activities such as the forceful annexation of outcroppings and islands within neighboring states’ maritime territories, the building of military installations on artificially constructed islands with anti-access and denial capabilities, and illegal fishing and oil exploration practices within other states’ exclusive economic zones.All of these efforts are supported by a 5,000-vessel Chinese paramilitary maritime force that aggressively patrols, fishes, and most notably, occupies the majority of the SCS by its overwhelming presence.10 This force has even been known to ram into and sink other boats that fish legally within their respective countries’ exclusive economic zones.11

China’s maritime para-military activities are overpowering for countries like the Philippines, which do not possess an adequate maritime capability to respond effectively. To garner support, the Philippines cannot rely on mechanisms such as its mutual defense treaty with the United States because there has been no direct attack on the armed forces of the Philippine military.12 With its gray-zone campaign in the SCS, China has undermined the rules-based order and created unique challenges that allies like the Philippines cannot solve without an increase in their maritime capabilities and capacity. Support that the United States can provide that falls below the threshold of armed conflict with China.

MARSOC should see adversarial gray-zone operations as the front lines in the battle of strategic competition. Adversarial gray-zone operations are a state’s way of conducting irregular warfare to erode another state’s power, influence, or will.13 Whether those gray-zone battles take place in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, or the Arctic, MARSOC can look to focus its efforts on countering adversarial operations to any degree possible. Adversarial gray-zone operations should receive a MARSOC indirect approach that sees special warfare campaigns aimed at working by, with, and through partners and allies to enable them to meet their security challenges. These special warfare campaigns can encompass not only the various military domains such as land, sea, or even cyber but also intergovernmental agencies that aim at strategic- or decisive-level impacts.

SFA as a Primary Means for MARSOC’s Indirect Approach to Gray Zone Activities in Strategic Competition
Security force assistance (SFA) is the activity that would allow MARSOC to accomplish its indirect approach to strategic competition. SFA is the best method of enabling partners and allies to meet their security challenges and opens the opportunity for MARSOC to build better partner capacity of self-defense and deterrence for states who are victims of adversarial gray-zone operations.

SFA is one of the U.S. SOF core activities that fall under the U.S. security cooperation umbrella and is defined as “the set of Department of Defense activities that contribute to unified action by the [U.S. Government] to support the development of capacity and capabilities of foreign security forces (FSF) and their supporting institutions. While SFA is primarily to assist a host nation to defend against internal and transnational terrorist threats to stability, it also prepares FSF to defend against external threats and to perform as part of a multi-national force.”14 Although other SOF core actives, such as foreign internal defense (FID), can also build better partner capacity and capabilities, SFA moves the focus from the tactical level further into the institutional level’s ability to engage both internal and external threats.15 Not only would SFA hinder Chinese or Russian gray-zone operations by building better-enabled opposing forces with the capacity and capabilities to diminish the effectiveness of gray-zone operations, but it would also strengthen alliances while ensuring the United States stays the partner of choice for addressing those states’ security concerns.

In an article written by the former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, Gen Joseph Votel, titled “Unconventional Warfare in the Gray Zone,” U.S. SOF “are optimized for providing the preeminent military contribution to a national political warfare capability because of their inherent proficiency in low-visibility, small footprint, and politically sensitive operations.”16 Votel argues that FID becomes a significant instrument of working by, with, and through indigenous forces in special warfare campaigns. These campaigns are designed to bring stability to situations brought on by adversarial gray-zone operations.17

However, Kevin D. Stringer, Chair of Education for the U.S. Irregular Warfare Center, argues in Joint Forces Quarterly that SFA should instead be used as a primary means for U.S. security cooperation with capable allies and partners.18 Stringer clarifies that FID, although similar to SFA in nature, is not enough when working toward achieving the goal of building a better-enabled and more capable partner-nation forces due to FID’s more focused emphasis on the tactical level aimed more toward internal threats. Stringer suggests that SFA is more suitable due to its focus on building better partner-nation forces institutional-level capacity and capabilities aimed more toward external threats.19

Where Can MARSOC Conduct SFA Operations?
If MARSOC were to use SFA as a means of combating adversarial gray-zone operations, it could look to interject itself into already existing platforms under the U.S. security cooperation umbrella. To allow SFA operations that are a part of a special warfare campaign to be more effective during strategic competition, MARSOC needs to better coordinate a whole of government approach by directing the numerous resources of the many departments of the U.S. country team toward its partner-nation forces’ ability to overcome the difficulties of gray-zone operations.

In some U.S. embassies around the world, SOF already maintains a small presence. As of 2022, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has officers serving as special operations liaison officers (SOLO) in over 37 countries.20 These SOLOs are important for maintaining key relationships with partner-nation forces’ SOF leadership while providing a conduit to communicate their requirements for U.S. support.21 Additionally, some U.S. embassies have joint U.S. military assistance groups (JUSMAG) that further advance security cooperation by providing millions of dollars of military equipment, aid, and the coordination of joint training with the U.S. military.22 JUSMAGs are an indispensable link in security cooperation between the U.S. government and its partners and allies as they are a channel for the Department of State’s Office of Security Assistance, which manages the distribution of over $6.5 billion in military grant assistance annually.23

The SOLO program, JUSMAG components, or even already-established U.S. SOF Augmentation Teams that are present in many of the combatant commands are avenues for the enhancement of U.S. allies’ and partners’ security capabilities. Still, they are not enough when it comes to meeting the pacing threats of China or Russia. The SOLO program is typically staffed with one officer per country. This can be a problem if the host nation has a varying degree of challenges that cross multiple domains such as land and sea. Aside from their limited capacity, the issue is each SOLO officer has a varying degree of expertise and experience. Should they be Army, they may lack the necessary guidance would their respective state develop a maritime dilemma. If they are in the Navy, they may be less experienced with land warfare.

Additionally, the JUSMAG program faces similar limitations; however, they operate in a joint environment due to being staffed by representatives from the various Services to cover different domains, their number of staff and the level of expertise also limits their ability to conduct security cooperation across a host nation’s array of forces. Depending on the size of the state’s military, partner-nation forces are comprised of untold numbers of units whose numerous requirements can be too much for only a few personnel to manage. Moreover, JUSMAGs are not staffed with U.S. SOF personnel. Aside from conventional forces, partner-nation forces are comprised of various land and sea SOF units as well. Non-SOF personnel within JUSMAGs are not suited or qualified to purchase the appropriate military equipment for these host nations’ SOF units to be able to conduct special operations.

When non-SOF personnel attempt to purchase equipment for SOF units, many of those resources provided to partner-nation forces can create problems in and of themselves. Some equipment that is purchased for partner-nation forces can be viewed as wishful thinking. Though the equipment may be sound military equipment or the latest and best in its classification and is purchased to provide needed capabilities or to enhance existing ones, the nature of the equipment in relation to the environment or conditions for its intended use may have been misunderstood. An example is the purchasing of equipment that may be too technologically advanced for units without the competency to use it. Additionally, spare parts, proper training, or sustainment resources may not be provided or cannot be procured by the partner-nation forces—creating new problems for those forces to overcome. This leaves many partner-nation forces with equipment they cannot use or equipment that is inadequate in answering the requirements for its intended use.

MARSOC elements need to have a greater involvement in the security assistance process. Without assistance, neither the SOLO nor the JUSMAG programs are not enough to fully maximize the benefits of U.S. security cooperation as both elements are limited by capacity and by the restraint of being a point of contact to the United States or only an acquisition force for U.S. security assistance. It is about getting the right equipment to the right people so that partner-nation forces are better enabled to meet their security challenges. Furthermore, JUSMAG elements do not have the wherewithal to adequately advise or assist partner nation SOF forces receiving U.S. resources regarding how that equipment and resources should be best utilized once acquired.

The SOLO and JUSMAG programs and augmentation teams can provide adequate platforms for MARSOC to advance an SFA agenda. All programs offer placement and access to host nation forces at the command level and up. But, more importantly, the JUSMAG, in particular, provides MARSOC the ability to directly link its partner-nation forces to millions of dollars of U.S. aid and equipment. Those resources could be focused on filling caps in the host nation’s existing capabilities. Gaps that are typically exploited by adversarial gray-zone operations.

For MARSOC to use SFA to combat the irregular warfare tactics its adversaries have employed for strategic competition, MARSOC should develop an indirect approach concept with two aspects. The first is the organization of teams that enable these campaigns by being a force that acts as the connecting element between partner-nation forces and U.S. country team’s assets with an agenda to enhance both U.S. security cooperation efforts and partner-nation forces’ abilities to address security challenges. The second is the development of special warfare campaigns with an objective to degrade U.S. adversaries’ irregular warfare efforts toward achieving their regional and strategic objectives. These campaigns should focus on countering malign gray-zone operations that exploit gaps in U.S. allies’ and partners’ security capacity or capabilities.

MARSOC should explore developing SFA teams with the wherewithal to operate in the space between partner nation SOF forces and U.S. country teams’ assets. These teams could provide adequate assessments to each party as to which resources to acquire and the appropriate employment of those resources. MARSOC teams can join current programs such as the SOLO, JUSMAG, or established augmentation teams to work within the U.S. country team. By attaching to these existing programs, MARSOC can swell those programs’ ranks with badly needed personnel with various technical skills, expertise, and experiences that cross various domains in conventional and SOF warfare spectrums. While MARSOC teams work to identify gaps in partner nation SOF or conventional forces’ capacity and capabilities, they can simultaneously connect the various departments within the U.S. country team to acquire the best resources to help mitigate those gaps.

Including MARSOC teams in the U.S. security cooperation architecture will help to provide the much-needed support or expertise that will streamline the process and save money. The correct equipment or resources can be identified from the beginning by interjecting special operations experts into the security assistance assessment process. The benefits from this interjection can be compounding. As MARSOC alleviates the chances of purchasing unsuitable equipment for partner-nation forces, units can get the needed equipment sooner and without the burden of problems that derive from acquiring the wrong equipment. Allowing the right units to get the right equipment or resources at the right time will enable them to focus on their mission more effectively. The United States cannot afford to waste the precious commodity of money and time in a process that can take several months to years from the assessment to the request, procurement, and arrival of the equipment or resources.

These specialized SFA teams can become the tool used in the larger concept of counter-gray-zone special warfare campaigns that MARSOC uses in its indirect approach toward special operations. Adversarial gray-zone operations have provided an opportunity for MARSOC to get into the strategic competition continuum. As Robinson pointed out in her Council on Foreign Relations report, USSOCOM needs to refocus and develop an indirect approach to conducting special operations.24 If countering gray-zone operations becomes an objective, MARSOC can provide the indirect approach that special operations can bring to the environment. The creation of special warfare campaigns whose agenda is to enable partner nations forces to counter U.S. adversaries’ operations is just the tactic needed for an indirect approach. An agenda that can align both the security requirements of a partner nation and the United States’ aim of degrading its adversaries’ ability to fulfill their regional or strategic objectives.

The embodiment of a MARSOC special warfare campaign would be a MARSOC SFA team that established itself with a U.S. embassy whose host nation was subject to an adversary gray-zone operation. The MARSOC team will coordinate with the U.S. country team to receive political and military concurrence and to determine the country-level problem. The MARSOC team can then work by developing their assessment from the ground up. Partnerships with partner nation SOF, conventional forces, or police units will provide the MARSOC teams the emplacement and access to move throughout the country to gather the ground-level detail. Partnering with multiple host nation units at the command level and up allows MARSOC teams to move throughout the country and interact with the individual units closest to the problem. MARSOC teams can then assess the units’ current capacity and capabilities and feed that data to the proper departments or agencies of the U.S. country team. Not all issues can be solved through military applications or military hardware. Therefore, MARSOC teams will have various departments or agencies of the U.S. country team to reach for their resources or permissions or to feed them the on-the-ground data that better enables those organizations the ability to complete their mission. Examples of groups for nonmilitary applications would be the U.S. Agency for Internal Development or non-governmental organizations.

Once MARSOC teams establish partnerships with host nation units and assess the situation from the ground up to provide the data to the various members of the U.S. country team, MARSOC can then work to coordinate its partner-nation forces toward degrading the gray-zone problem. Aside from determining the correct military equipment, MARSOC works to align U.S. and host nation interests in using the equipment and resources toward the gray-zone problem. By working with partner nation’s forces commands, MARSOC can work to ensure the equipment or funding from the United States is the correct equipment for its application and that the application of the equipment is put toward the purpose of its procurement. This process would take years to execute over time and require a lasting presence, but it would have a much more significant and lasting effect.

Counter-gray-zone special warfare campaigns would span multiple nations and include joint U.S. conventional military intervention. MARSOC should look to placing teams with multiple allies and partnered states who are victims of the same gray-zone issue. MARSOC teams can act as a network that coordinates with one another for guidance, to share information, or even implement joint training or coordination of the many partner-nation forces into combined efforts. Aside from coordinating with USSOCOM to develop special operations joint combined exchange training, MARSOC can also coordinate joint host nation and U.S. conventional forces training opportunities or emplacement as well. MARSOC’s forward presence with its emplacement and access allows them to determine which U.S. military conventional force or assets would benefit the host nation or U.S. interests. MARSOC can request that U.S. naval ships or Marines or Army units gain access to particular ports of interest or host nation bases for joint training opportunities. MARSOC’s coordination with the U.S. country team will marry U.S. interest to the region and be more effective at placing U.S. strategic assets in advantageous positions globally.

Why MARSOC? Because MARSOC Can Provide the SOF Touch 
For the U.S. SOF to be able to provide the SOF Touch in strategic competition, USSOCOM needs to implement an indirect approach. MARSOC is an excellent component that can adapt its force quickly and has the structure and skill to integrate into the U.S. country team and partner-nation forces. MARSOC is also endowed with the skills and expertise required for SFA missions and is designed to operate both in the land and maritime domains.

MARSOC is the ideal component for SFA special warfare campaigns because of its recent force redesign. MARSOC’s force redesign is centered around a Strategic shaping and reconnaissance (SSR) model that focuses on the operational preparation of the environment.25 MARSOC’s SSR is characterized as:

“activities conducted by special operations elements in cooperation, competition, and conflict. SSR encompasses a wide array of skills employing SOF-specific equipment to provide shaping and influence effects. SSR is conducted through a hybrid approach utilizing selected SOF core activities and programs. Effects are achieved by reconnaissance and intelligence operations, and persistently developing regional relationships.”26

MARSOC’s SSR mindset displays MARSOC’s desire to shape and influence the environment through regional relationships.

MARSOC’s SSR model can quickly structure teams for the strategic competition continuum that enhances existing security cooperation operations. Augmenting U.S. country team programs with fully enabled MARSOC teams has numerous advantages. For ally or partner countries where units are spread throughout non-permissive environments, MARSOC teams would be better suited to operate given the security challenges that embassy personnel face. MARSOC operators are optimized to work in dangerous environments, and depending on the parameters of the status of forces agreement with the host nation, MARSOC operators can be armed to provide for their security. As U.S. country team staff would be restricted to working within the National Capital Region, MARSOC teams would be able to access areas of the country to provide these staff with the needed on-the-ground data.

Just as MARSOC operators are optimized to work in non-permissive environments, MARSOC maintains various capabilities and can operate in cross domains such as land and maritime operations. This means MARSOC teams would have a wide array of knowledge and expertise readily accessible to the embassy. With that knowledge and expertise, MARSOC can identify host nation vulnerabilities being exploited by adversaries’ gray-zone operations and recommend correct and timely solutions—significantly cutting the time it would take to achieve similar results. Finally, MARSOC operators possess foreign language proficiencies and a legacy of working with indigenous forces, making MARSOC more culturally adept at operating well with partner-nation forces. With MARSOC’s SSR strategy and its tactical and technical experience in various domains of warfare, MARSOC can be a terrific force for the whole-of-government approach to solving regional or strategic problems.

In the near future, U.S. SOF can play a significant role in the strategic competition continuum. How that role is played is still being determined, but this article should serve as a catalyst for how U.S. SOF or MARSOC, particularly, could support U.S. strategic interests.

The utilization of MARSOC as an SFA element that uses counter-gray-zone special warfare campaigns that span the strategic competition continuum meets the requirements for both MARSOC and USSOCOM. The first is the embodiment of a mission for MARSOC’s latest force design that meets MARSOC’s 2030 vision and allows for the global emplacement and access of MARSOC elements from the tactical to the strategic level.27 The second is the outline for an indirect special operations approach to today’s operating environment that achieves the central means of delivering lasting effects that encompasses a by, with, and through strategy of U.S. and partners’ political, civilian, and military resources.28

As adversarial gray-zone operations become the front lines in strategic competition, an SFA-centric MARSOC campaign that stretches across many allied and partner nation-states to combat adversarial gray-zone operations will find many opportunities for employment of both U.S. SOF and conventional forces. MARSOC’s approach will align many U.S. resources already provided to partner-nation forces and direct them toward degrading adversarial gray-zone operations. Such an approach will affect U.S. adversaries’ regional or strategic objects or ambitions to some degree.

SFA is nothing new and has been a special operations core concept since the development of the U.S. SOF. For MARSOC to compete in the strategic competition, it simply needs to realign some of its focus toward SFA and capitalize on its existing talents. MARSOC’s inception into the security assistance process plays to the many advantages that SOF can provide and aids the U.S. and its allies and partners with a more streamlined practice. Ensuring allies and partners get the right equipment more quickly and without the burden of new problems would save time, money, and resources. Also, by providing on-the-ground data and tactical and technical expertise to the U.S. country team in a coordinated indirect SOF campaign to degrade adversarial gray-zone operations, MARSOC will help to improve the whole governmental approach to integrated deterrence. Once MARSOC demonstrates its value and builds a reputation with an indirect special operations approach to strategic competition, U.S. country teams may begin to request MARSOC’s SOF Touch in their regions—something that may ensure MARSOC’s relevance in U.S. strategic competition for years to come.


1. Linda Robinson, The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2013).

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Office of the Presidency, Biden-Harris-Administrations-National-Security-Strategy, (Washington, DC: 2022).

8. Joseph L Votel, et al., “Unconventional Warfare in the Gray Zone,” Joint Forces Quarterly 80, No. 1 (2016).

9. Gregory B. Poling, On Dangerous Ground: America’s Century in the South China Sea (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2022).

10. Lonnie D. Henley, China Maritime Report No. 21: Civilian Shipping and Maritime Militia: The Logistics Backbone of a Taiwan Invasion, (Newport: U.S. Naval War College, 2022).

11. On Dangerous Ground.

12. Winston and Sachdeva, Raging Waters in the South China Sea: What the Battle for Supremacy Means for Southeast Asia (Irvine: Lizard Publishing, 2022).

13. Headquarters Department of the Air Force, 3-2-AFDP, Irregular-Warfare, (Washington, DC: 2020).

14. Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, JP 3-05, Special Operations, (Washington, DC: 2011).

15. Kevin D. Stringer, “Special Operations Forces Institution-Building: From Strategic Approach to Security Force Assistance,” Joint Force Quarterly 110, No. 3 (2023).

16. “Unconventional Warfare in the Gray Zone.”

17. Ibid.

18. “Special Operations Forces Institution-Building.”

19. Ibid.

20. Erin Dorrance, “Spec Ops Liaison Program Evolves to Further Strengthen Partner Nation Relations,” USSOCOM, May 3, 2023,

21. Ibid.

22. U.S. Embassy Manila, “Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group,” U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, December 31, 2021,

23. State Department, “Office of Security Assistance,” United States Department of State (blog), accessed August 22, 2023,

24. The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces.

25. Mr. David Pummell, “MARSOC Operational Approach For Modernization,” Marine Corps Gazette 106, No. 1 (2022).

26. Ibid.

27. Special Operations Command U.S. Marine Corps Forces, MARSOF 2030, (Camp Lejeune: 2018).

28. The Future of U.S. Special Operations Forces.