Special Operations Soldiers with weapons and full ruck sacks march in the field under the light yellow sky of dawn Special Operations Soldiers with weapons and full ruck sacks march in the field under the light yellow sky of dawn

Special Operations

From large-scale combat to small-unit raids, be the one in control of the battlefield.

Special Operations Soldier in uniform jumps from an aircraft while another Soldier crouches in the aircraft Special Operations Soldier in uniform jumps from an aircraft while another Soldier crouches in the aircraft

Join the Elite

Special Operations are the most elite forces in the U.S. Army. Soldiers in this unit typically work in small, tactical teams on the most varied and sensitive missions the Army undertakes.

  • Made up of five specialized units, each bringing their own unique strength
  • Takes on the Army’s most challenging missions
  • Requires extensive training to ensure physical and mental resiliency

Diverse Branches, One Unstoppable Force

Special Operations Soldier in uniform handling communications equipment outdoors Special Operations Soldier in uniform handling communications equipment outdoors

Army Rangers

Army Rangers are also called the 75th Ranger Regiment.

  • They are combat experts who specialize in conducting raids within enemy territory
  • They take on high priority and high-pressure missions
  • They require Airborne qualification, a General Technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)—the Army’s placement test—of at least 105, and extensive training

Special Forces Soldier in Green Beret in the field Special Forces Soldier in Green Beret in the field

Special Forces (Green Berets)

Special Forces are also known by their nickname, the Green Berets.

  • They are guerrilla warfare experts who use unexpected and unconventional techniques
  • They fight terrorists and insurgents abroad
  • They require secret security clearance eligibility, Airborne qualification, an ASVAB placement test GT score of at least 100, and extensive training

SOAR (Night Stalker) Soldier piloting an Army aircraft SOAR (Night Stalker) Soldier piloting an Army aircraft

SOAR (Night Stalkers)

SOAR is also called the 160th Special Operations Aviation Unit or Night Stalkers.

  • They are aviation experts who use cutting-edge aircraft to surprise enemies—anywhere and any time
  • They operate the most advanced military aircraft in the world, including Black Hawk helicopters
  • They require secret security clearance eligibility, Airborne qualification, an ASVAB placement test GT score of at least 100, and extensive training

Two Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Soldiers kneeling in sand setting up communications technology Two Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Soldiers kneeling in sand setting up communications technology

Psychological Operations

Psychological Operations are also known by their nickname, PSYOP.

  • They are communication experts who persuade our allies and enemies to act in our nation’s best interest
  • They leverage cultural expertise, language skills, and military deception to sway opinions and actions
  • They require secret security clearance eligibility, an ASVAB placement test GT score of at least 100, and extensive training

Several Civil Affairs Soldiers walking outside with local leaders, with mountains in the background Several Civil Affairs Soldiers walking outside with local leaders, with mountains in the background

Civil Affairs

  • They are diplomacy experts who help reduce instability and enable local governments abroad
  • They partner with key officials and leaders to better understand, help, and influence local populations
  • They require secret security clearance eligibility, an ASVAB placement test GT score of at least 100, and extensive training

What Sets Special Operations Apart

There is no other Army force that requires as much training and dedication as Special Operations,
but those who succeed will experience a level of success few Soldiers will ever know.

Silhouette of Special Operations aircraft sitting stationary on the ground at night, with shadows of Soldiers in the background Silhouette of Special Operations aircraft sitting stationary on the ground at night, with shadows of Soldiers in the background

Thrill of Adventure

Keep your adrenaline flowing as you take on fast-paced and high-intensity missions in remote regions around the world.

Close-up of a Special Operations Soldier in camouflage face paint and raw natural material head covering Close-up of a Special Operations Soldier in camouflage face paint and raw natural material head covering

The Ultimate Challenge

Test your physical and mental endurance and reach your peak potential as a Soldier and a person.

Special Operations Soldier Special Operations Soldier

Train to Become the Best

Be part of an elite group of individuals trained to lead and succeed in defending and protecting the country.

Common Questions About Special Operations

How do I become a Special Operations Soldier?

Enlisted Soldiers must first qualify and then be selected to join Special Operations. Requirements vary within each of the five units, but can include things like qualifying for a security clearance or having an ASVAB placement test score above 100. After qualifying, Soldiers begin rigorous mental, physical, and technical training that can take between several months to over a year to complete. Due to the difficulty, some Soldiers don’t make it past training and instead get placed in a related job within the regular Army.

What are the advantages of being a Special Operations Soldier?

Special Operations Soldiers complete more training and special courses, which means they receive promotions and climb in rank and pay faster than regular Soldiers. Special sign-up, re-enlistment and skill-based bonuses and other benefits are also available to them. Beyond compensation, there’s the opportunity for personal growth and the chance to reach a level of success that few Soldiers will ever get to experience.

What is the difference between Special Operations and Special Forces?

Special Operations is the collective force made up of the Army Rangers, Special Forces (Green Berets), Night Stalkers, Psychological Operations, and Civil Affairs, whereas Special Forces (nicknamed the Green Berets) is an individual unit within Special Operations.

What happens if I don’t make it through Special Operations training?

Not everyone who pursues Special Operations training is successful, but everyone who attempts it is respected—regardless of the outcome. If you don’t make it through training, you’ll still be highly trained and qualified for another position within a regular Army unit.