They use night vision and high-speed maneuver to launch small targeted boat attacks under cover of darkness, swim underwater for long distances to approach enemy shores, conduct clandestine reconnaissance operations and confront enemy fire amid hostage rescue or high-value target attack missions… to site just a few of the high-risk, high-casualty missions expected of Naval and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces preparing for major maritime warfare.
This reality may in large measure be why a new U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard strategy document carves out a special place to highlight maritime Special Operations Forces as fundamental to the Navy’s pivot toward major power warfare.
“Naval special operations forces help prepare the operational environment in contested and denied areas. Their skills and access enable the Naval Service to insulate vulnerable partners and maneuver naval forces inside of contested areas,” the strategy, called Advantage at Sea .. Prevailing With Integrated All Domain Naval Power, states.
Marines even operate something called a MEUSOC, or Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable, to support specific kinds of smaller, more targeted yet vital intelligence, rescue or attack missions.