Joint Special Operations Command JSOC
After the failed attempt to rescue US hostages being held prisoner in Iran, the US military immediately began planning for a second rescue attempt. As part of this panning a number of new special operations units were formed within the armed forces. To help prevent some of the confusion that developed during the planning, and execution phases of the first rescue attempt, a new command structure was activated to control these new units. This new command would eventually evolve into the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC.
Activated on December 15, 1980 and based at Pope AFB, NC JSOC's publicly-released posture statement states that JSOC performs the following missions:
Although JSOC's stated purpose is to provide a unified command structure for conducting joint special operations and exercises, numerous reports have stated that JSOC is actually the command responsible for conducting US counter-terrorism (CT) operations. According to published reports, JSOC commands the US military's Special Missions Units (SMUs). These SMUs are tasked with conducting CT operations, strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas, and special intelligence missions.
JSOC units have reportedly been involved in a number of covert military operations over the last two decades. Some of the operations that have come to light include providing assistance to Italian authorities during their search for kidnapped US Army Gen. James Dozier, participating in Operation Urgent Fury; the US invasion of Grenada, planning a rescue attempt of US hostages being held in Lebanon, rescuing hostages being held aboard the cruise liner Achille Lauro, participating in Operation Just Cause; the US intervention in Panama, directing US Scud hunting efforts during Operation Desert Storm, conducting operations in support of UN mandates in Somalia, and searching for suspected war criminals in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
Recently the veil of secrecy surrounding JSOC has been lifted a little more. Press reports have indicates that US SMUs have been tasked with conducting counter-proliferation operations against countries producing weapons of mass destruction.
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Currently JSOC is believed to command the following units:
Other US special operations forces may operate in support of JSOC depending on their operational needs. The primary units that operate in this manner include the following:
JSOC units regularly conduct training with similar units from around the world, and provide training to nations that request US support. JSOC has also provide support to domestic law enforcement agencies during high profile, or high risk events such as the Olympic;, the World Cup; political party conventions; and Presidential inaugurations.
* Note: All information in this article was obtained from publicly available open source material*