On 16 April, 1987 the Department of Defense activated US Special Operations Command(USSOCOM). The Army, Navy, and Air Force were all tasked to provide their SpecialOperations Forces to this new command. The Marine Corps successfully argued that it did nothave additional forces to spare and thus was excluded. Since then, the absence of a MarineCorps component within Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has been a hotly debatedtopic. The activation of Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC) on 1 November,2005 has ended that debate. It is now time to focus on how best to ensure its success.The absence of an aviation element in MARSOC is striking considering the strength of theMarine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) concept. While the current plan is to rely on availableSpecial Operations Aviation assets, this shortfall can and should be satisfied by the MarineCorps. Marine aviation is the appropriate force to provide MARSOC the support it needs for mission execution and sustainability. The basis for this argument requires an understanding of the MARSOC mission, its support limitations, SOCOM aviation shortfalls, and the planneddeployment requirements for MARSOC. Additional discussion will provide a focused look atthe importance of the MAGTF concept, why Marine aviation is capable of satisfying MARSOCmission requirements, and recent examples of Marine aviation in support of SOF. Finally,recommendations on how to implement the proposal and topics for further consideration willclose the discussion.
THE ABSENCE OF A MARSOC AIR COMPONENT
The proposed mission statement of MARSOC is to assess, select, train, certify, organize, equipand deploy fully capable Special Operation Force Marines for worldwide special operationsmissions as directed by USSOCOM. MARSOC is tasked to execute direct action, special1