In the Army, your job is called the MOS - "Military Occupation Specialties". Within the Army Special Forces, their MOS Specialty Field is the number 18. The Special Forces Officer is the missing 18A (below). The Special Forces officer is in charge and both operationally and administratively responsible for the Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA). An ODA is a highly trained 12-man team made up of Army Special Forces, who wear the Green Beret, that is deployed all over the world where needed immediately for a variety of combat and training missions.
Special Forces Training Pipeline
To achieve this MOS requires over 18-24 months of intensive training and selection programs. First, you will have to endure a 19 day Special Forces Prep Course (SOPC), then you will be given a Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course (SFAS) date which lasts 19 days. If you pass and are selected, you get to go through the 12-18 month long (MOS dependent) Special Forces Qualification Course.
Here you will learn Unconventional Warfare, Small Unit Special Ops Tactics at the Squad and Platoon level, SERE - Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training. Advanced Special Operations techniques, Air Operations, Military Decision Making Process, and infiltration and exfiltration techniques are also taught. Language Training, Radio and Non-Verbal Communications, Shooting, Maneuvering, and Combatives are field craft all Special Ops soldiers rely on.
Below are the Army MOS's that fall into the Special Forces Field:
18B - Special Forces Weapons Sergeant: The weapons sergeant within the Special Forces career field employs conventional and unconventional warfare tactics and techniques in individual and small unit infantry operations. Employs individual domestic, foreign small arms, light and heavy crew-served weapons, anti-aircraft and anti-armor weapons.
18C - Special Forces Engineer: Special Force engineer sergeants are specialists across a wide range of disciplines, from demolitions and constructions of field fortifications to topographic survey techniques.
18D - Special Forces Medical Sergeant: The Special Forces medical sergeant provide medical care and treatment to his unit, other units within the military, as well as indigenous population where deployed. They are experts in trauma medicine and deploy with the team worldwide.
18E - Special Forces Communications Sergeant: The Communications Sergeant in the Special Forces are proficient in and the instruction of the installation, operation and employment of FM, AM, VHF, UHF, and SHF radio communication systems to transmit and receive radio messages in voice, continuous wave, and burst code radio nets.
18F - Special Forces Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant: The SF Intel Sergeant employs provides tactical and technical guidance to the Detachment Commander, indigenous and allied personnel. Plans, organizes, trains, advises, assists and supervises indigenous and allied personnel on collection and processing of intelligence information.
18X - Special Forces Enlistment Option: 18X is an enlistment option code a recruit will apply for during his Delayed Entry Program status. Under the 18X enlistment option, recruits are guaranteed the opportunity to attend assessment and selection (SFAS) for Special Forces. It does not guarantee that the recruit will be accepted into the Special Forces program.
18Z - Special Forces Senior Sergeant: It takes several years within Special Forces to become the Senior Sergeant (18Z). He supervises, instructs and serves as the senior enlisted member for SF activities. The Senior Sergeant performs joint, combined and coalition planning and supervises operations for higher headquarters, major commands, and any joint commands.
The above Special Forces MOS's make up the Operational Detachment Alpha and work together as a team to answer the call in unconventional warfare. The training for all the MOS's above are taught and organized in a manner that any sergeant who completes the training can augment into any ODA if needed and be fully capable and expected to do the job as taught and required.
In fact, there is an Army Special Forces program (Green Beret) that allows for a National Guard member to attend the various schools in the Special Forces pipeline and actually become an Army Special Forces soldier earning the Green Beret. Once you are a member of the 19th and 20th Special Forces Groups you will continue to train and can deploy when needed as an augmentee into an active unit.
The Army Special Forces is one of the groups of Special Operators that are part of the Army Special Operations Command. The Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is a component of the Joint Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The Navy Special Warfare Command, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and the US Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, as well as Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), are the other components of SOCOM.