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Special Forces Officer (18A)

Combat Army MOS Information
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • Closed to Women

The Army’s Special Forces are some of the most specially trained Soldiers in the Army. Special Forces are experts in conducting operations that don’t call for conventional military operations. A Special Forces Officer is responsible for what is typically organized as a 12-man team, known as an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA).

ODAs are deployed around the world in rapid-response situations whether it’s during peacetime, crisis or war. The Special Forces Officer is the team leader of an ODA, responsible for mission organization, outfitting the team and debriefing mission objectives.

Usually, Special Forces Officers will conduct the following five types of missions:

Special Forces are often deployed to preclude, preempt and resolve terrorist incidents abroad. They prevent, deter and respond to terrorist activities and train other nations’ military in the basics of fighting terrorism.

Direct Action
Direct Action missions are short duration strikes that are used when Special Forces want to seize, capture, recover or destroy enemy weapons and information or recover designated personnel or material.

Foreign Internal Defense
This mission is used to organize, assist and train the military and national defense forces of foreign governments to protect their citizens from aggressors.

Special Reconnaissance
These intelligence-gathering activities monitor as much about the enemy’s movement and operations as possible.

Unconventional Warfare
Special Forces have long employed the use of Unconventional Warfare (UW), a.k.a. guerilla warfare, to train, equip, advise and assist forces in enemy-held or controlled territory.


Special Forces Officers go through an extensive and demanding training cycle. From Airborne training to Ranger School to Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), you will learn skills in many areas of combat.

Helpful Skills:

Being a leader in the Army requires certain qualities. A leader exhibits self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence. They are physically fit and can perform under physical and mental pressures. Leaders make decisions quickly, always focusing on completing the mission successfully, and show respect for their subordinates and other military officers. Leaders lead from the front and adjust to environments that are always changing. They are judged by their ability to make decisions on their own and bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions.

Advanced Responsibilities:

Special Forces Officers may continue in serving in special operations at ever increasing levels of leadership and responsibility.

Responsibilities of a Special Forces Captain may include:

  • Commanding and controlling Special Forces operations in the missions stated above
  • Coordinating employment of Special Forces Soldiers at all levels of command, from ODA to group level and beyond, in U.S. and multi-national operations.
  • Developing doctrine, organizations and equipment for unique Unconventional Warfare missions.
  • Providing instruction on Special Forces processes, systems and equipment at service schools and intelligence training centers.
  • Serving as Unconventional Warfare advisor to other Special Operations units in other armed services.

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