Critical skill operators are the Corps’ most elite Marines. As members of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, they are tasked with the most sensitive, often riskiest missions that take them in small units far behind enemy lines.
Trouble is, MARSOC has had a historically difficult time recruiting guys to fill these very demanding jobs. Today, the command is still about 200 CSOs shy of where it needs to be.
This week’s cover story, on newsstands now, explores why this struggle persists, while laying out in detail MARSOC’s new plan to mine the Reserve for qualified applicants.
On the surface, this strategy could seem like an act of desperation. (That’s no knock on reservists, but heretofore their role within MARSOC has been largely limited to logistics and communications support.) Yet MARSOC officials insist this is part of a calculated effort to infuse the ninja force with important civilian skills that reflect the command’s evolving mission. It means that soon spec ops Marines out in the field will find themselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder with guys whose last job wasn’t necessarily as an infantry squad leader or scout sniper, but as a civilian EMT or school teacher.