Is the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets) a Tier 1 Unit?

It is inaccurate to state that the Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, are a Tier 1 unit. Tier 1 units carry

Eric Sof

DEVGRU / SEAL Team 6 operators posing for photo during training
US Navy SEAL Team 6 operators at undisclosed location and at unknown mission (Photo: Unknown author)

It is inaccurate to state that the Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, are a Tier 1 unit. Tier 1 units carry out the most sensitive and complex missions. Tier 2 units, on the other hand, provide support to Tier 1 units and include units such as the 24th Special Operations Squadron, the Intelligence Support Activity, and the Ranger Recon Company.

The Army Special Forces and other units like the SEALs, Marine Raiders, and Air Force Combat Search and Rescue teams are classified as Tier 3 units within the special operations commands of their respective services. However, when a Tier 3 unit is attached to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to support a mission, it is temporarily reclassified as a Tier 2 unit.

Are Army Special Forces (Green Berets) Tier 1 unit?
U.S. Army Green Berets, assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), prepare to assault an objective during pre-deployment training on Fort Carson, CO., June 22, 2017. Soldiers from 10th SFG (A) routinely train for situations found in combat operations. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Special mission units are considered Tier 1 units and fall under the command and control of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). These units are responsible for carrying out highly classified and sensitive missions and tasks related to unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, direct action, special reconnaissance, and black operations.

US Military Tier 1 Components

So far, only four SMUs have been publicly disclosed:

There is a common belief that the term “Tier 1” refers to the level of government funding allocated to special operations units classified as such. Tier 1 units indeed receive more funding than conventional units and “white” special operations forces (SOF) units, which do not typically conduct classified or covert operations.

Eric Sof

Eric Sof holds a master's degree in Political Science, specializing in International Peacekeeping Studies. He has over a decade of experience as a former member of an elite counterterrorism unit. Additionally, he is a firearms instructor and currently serves as a member of the SWAT unit.

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5 thoughts on “Is the Army’s Special Forces (Green Berets) a Tier 1 Unit?”

  1. This is incorrect. The 75th Ranger Regiment is NOT Tier-1. Its considered
    Tier-2 along with the Army’s 160th SOAR, USMC Raiders (aka MARSOC), Navy SEALs (ie Teams 1, 3, 7, 11, 13), USAF 21st STS, and the Army’s SFGs (ie 1, 3, 5, 7, 10 etc) known as “Green Berets.”

    There are only 3 Tier-1 units (not including the CIA’s SOG:
    1. DEVGRU (form. known as SEAL Team 6)
    2. Army’s 1st SFOD-Delta (DELTA FORCE)
    3. USAF’s 24th STS (Special Tactics Squad)

    There are apparently Tier-3 units, though I don’t know much about it.

    It’s wrong to assume that higher budgets are why one tier is higher than another. However, a Tier-1 unit will absolutely have higher budgets than Tier-2 units…but it’s the intense training, operational capacity, specialization, secrecy, and competitive exclusivity, and organizational integration into USSOCOM & JSOC that help determine the tiers.

  2. He didn’t say the 75th Ranger Regiment is considered Tier 1, he said the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Regimental Reconnaissance Company is considered Tier 1.

    Detail. It’s all in the detail.

  3. All this Tier 1 level talk going around! I’ll take the SF “Gren Berets” such as (ODA) 595 Horse Soldiers and put them up with any Tier 1 Unit lmao..

  4. whether it’s dem boys from dam neck devgru team 6 gold red rainbow silver pink squadron jk whatever……….cag delta or the unit whatever u wanna call them…..there all bad ass respect them all and their sacrifices theve made and still continue to make for this fucked up country and thank them for their service

  5. Funny how civilians see these different operational forces. When you are a team guy.. you see everyone as Americans doing a military job…where you get to shoot and blow stuff up which everything named here is voluntary as well.. No one really thinks like that..tier 2 or tier 2… they just want to be operational, on the fight, down range..and tier 1 is where you want to be..unless you have a family…you will never see them..train for 6 , deploy for 3 or 6… regular team guys are never home… once you get to a tier one level.. you know your job..but you don’t know your family. The ones that do..they are “bad ass”

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