In October 2005, the Secretary of Defense directed the formation of a Marine component of U.S. Special Operations Command. It was determined the Marine Corps would initially form a unit of approximately 2,500 to serve with USSOCOM.
On Feb. 24, 2006 MARSOC activated at Camp Lejeune, N.C. MARSOC initially consisted of a small staff and the Foreign Military Training Unit, which had been formed to conduct foreign internal defense. FMTU was then designated as the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group.
In the months after the activation of MARSOC, the structure and personnel of both 1st and 2d Force Reconnaissance Company transferred to MARSOC to form 1st and 2d Marine Special Operations Battalions.
In April of 2009, MSOAG was re-designated as the Marine Special Operations Regiment with the 1st, 2d, and 3d MSOBs as subordinate units. The newly designated 3d MSOB incorporated the structure and personnel from MSOAG's former companies. MARSOC also formed the Marine Special Operations Support Group and the Marine Special Operations School.
In June of 2015 MARSOC units were re-designated as Marine Raiders, also adopting the Operator insignia in August of 2016. The former MSOS was renamed Marine Raider Training Center in June of 2017. MRTC screens, assesses, selects and trains Marine Special Operations Forces and is responsible for developing doctrine.
The MSOSG, now Marine Raider Support Group, provides combat support and combat service support to MARSOC units, to include: logistics, communication and intelligence.
As a service component of USSOCOM, MARSOC is tasked by the commander of USSOCOM to recruit, organize, train, equip, and deploy task-oriented, scalable, expeditionary Marine Corps Special Operations Forces worldwide to accomplish special operations missions assigned by the USSOCOM and/or Geographic Combatant Commanders (GCCs) via the Theater Special Operations Commands.
MARSOC deployed its first units in August 2006, six months after initial activation. Since then, MARSOC has deployed continuously. MARSOC’s current missions include counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, foreign internal defense and security force assistance.