Organization

Operational Detachment Alpha

A Special Forces company typically consists of six Operational Detachment Alphas or ODAs. Each ODA has 12 members and is focused on a particular mission set, but generally consists of two Weapons Sergeants, two Communications Sergeants, two Medical Sergeants, two Engineering Sergeants, a commander, an assistant commander, operations/intelligence Sergeant, and Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC).

Relevant MOSs for ODAs*:
Click the title of each MOS to read a lot more about each job and qualifications.

18A – Special Forces Officer – responsible for an ODA. Team leader of ODA; responsible for mission organization, outfitting the team, and debriefing mission objectives.

180A – Special Forces Warrant Officer – manages and maintains many combat systems, vehicles, and networks.

18B – Special Forces Weapons Sergeant – capable of operating a wide variety of American, allied, and other foreign weaponry. Common duties include: going behind enemy lines to recruit, train, and equip friendly forces for guerrilla raids and carrying out demolition raids.

18C – Special Forces Engineer Sergeant – specialists from a variety of subjects – from demolition to reconnaissance to bridging. Common duties include: perform and teach tasks in that person's specialty.

18D – Special Forces Medical Sergeant – among the finest first-response/trauma medical staff.

18E – Special Forces Communications Sergeant – capable of operating every kind of communications gear and computers/networks

Operational Detachment Bravo

The ODB is the company headquarters element of the Special Forces company and plays a support role for the ODAs in the company.

Relevant MOSs for ODBs*:
Click the title of each MOS to read a lot more about each job and qualifications.

18A - Special Forces Officer – The Company Commander is typically a major who is assisted by another 18A (usually a captain) as his Company Executive Officer.

180A – Special Forces Warrant Officer – typically a CWO3 who assists in the direction of the organization, training, intelligence, counter-intelligence, and operations for the company and its detachments.

18Z – Special Forces Senior Sergeant – acts as the Operations Sergeant and assists the XO and Technician with their operational duties.

18F – Special Forces Assistant Operations & Intelligence Sergeant – assists the 18Z

18D – Special Forces Medical Sergeant – among the finest first-response/trauma medical staff.

18E – Special Forces Communications Sergeant – capable of operating every kind of communications gear and computers/networks

Outside of the 18 CMF classification for Special Forces are these two other positions:

Supply NCO – commander's chief logistical planner, works with the battalion S-4(???) to supply the company

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) NCO – maintains and operates the company's NBC detection and decontamination equipment and assists in administering NBC defense measures.

Operational Detachment Charlie

The ODC is the battalion headquarters element. It is a command and control unit with operations, training, signals, and logistic support responsibilities to the ODAs and ODBs. An LTC commands with a CSM. They have a staff of around 20-30 personnel. The battalion usually consists of four companies – A, B, C, and HQ.

Special Forces Groups

Special Forces battalions are part of a Special Forces Group. There are three or four battalions in each group. The various SF groups are historically assigned to certain geographical regions, but those distinctions have wavered quite a bit in recent years.




*Note: Individuals desiring a career in Special Forces who have no prior military service or who have separated from military service may enlist directly into the 18X MOS, and upon successful completion of upwards of six months of initial training be given the chance to be selected at the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course (SFAS).

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