The Most Elite Military Units in the United States in 2020

Most Elite Special Operation Units in the US Military, a TOP TEN

To compile a list of the most elite military units in the United States Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) we had to combine various scores including several publicly known missions, their type, unit’s firepower, and mobility and the number of highest awards, including awards for valor. Top 10 elite special operations units in the US military which are featured in this article are swift and deadly.

All of the units mentioned here are considered as one of the best in the world, however, we prepared a brief overview of each and placed them into rankings.

The brief descriptions listed below for each of these specialized units merely scratches the surface of these deep, secretive and specialized units.  They are among the best of the best, trained to acclimate to almost any weather, environment or situation, making them the top ten, most elite Special Operations units in the US Military. American military special forces are the best ones on earth, and among them serves the very best heroes.

The Most Elite Military Units in the United States in 2020 list isn’t official, it’s just our meaning and understanding of US Special Operations Forces, so if you are here and think that you might not agree with a list, maybe you don’t need to read further.

10.  USMC Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team

Also known as FAST, it is ready for rapid deployment when US Government installations throughout the world require additional security.  They are stationed at different naval command posts throughout the world.  This unit of close to 500 Marines is specially trained using state-of-the-art weapons.

The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: USMC FAST - Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team 2
The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: USMC Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team ranked on the 10th place in Top 10 elite special operations units in US Military list (Photo: XY)

9.  USAF Pararescuemen, PJ

The primary mission of the US Air Force’s Pararescuemen is to recover aircrew members who are either downed and/or injured in harsh environments.  They also provide on the scene emergency medical treatment to stabilize the injured while evacuating them.  The conditions sometimes warrant them to act as aircrew gunners and scanners as some missions require enemy evasion.

The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: USAF Pararescue Jumbers (PJs) deploying
The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: USAF Pararescue Jumpers (Photo: USAF)

8.  US Army 75th Ranger Regiment

This elite infantry unit, a.k.a. Rangers is a Special Operations unit headquartered at Ft. Benning, GA.  The unit is made up of a single Special Troops Battalion and three special operations battalions, specially trained with a variety of skills needed for several different specialized missions.  These three light infantry battalions are can be rapidly deployed and take turns rotating into the “Ranger Ready Forces”, where they are on constant readiness with the ability to respond to any crisis, anywhere in the world, in less than 18 hours.

The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: 75th Ranger Battalion operator
The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: 75th Ranger Battalion Operator (Photo: U.S. Army)


The US Marine Corps Special Forces – ANGLICO – are most noted for their proficiency in controlling Close Air Support (CAS).  They are, however, also trained in ground-based fires such as cannon and rocket artillery and precision-guided munitions.  The well-rounded training of the Anglico’s makes them the only firepower control team in the US Department of Defense who operates full time and has been fully trained to control and coordinate fire support from the air, on the land, and the sea.

USMC Anglico in training
Members of USMC ANGLICO during training (Photo: USMC)

6.  MARSOC Raiders

Activated in February of 2006, this specially trained Marine Corps group is a module command of the US Special Operations Command encompassing the USMCs contribution to SOCOM.  The primary capabilities of MARSOC include direct action, special reconnaissance and also foreign internal defense.  They are also in charge of counter-terrorism, information operations, and unconventional warfare.  These highly, specialized trained individuals must functionally capable of operating in fast-paced, often remote and complex, environments.

MARSOC Raiders aiming their weapons during the training
MARSOC Raiders aiming their weapons during the training (Photo: Pinterest/Marines)

5.  US Army Intelligence Support Activity

This top-secret US Army intelligence unit’s primary function is to gather intelligence information that will pave the way for a plan of action.  Some of the sources for their information include (but are not limited to) local operatives working undercover and the monitoring and tracking of radio communications.

600 SF troops in massive Black Hawk helicopter assault (PHOTO) 8

4.  USMC Force Reconnaissance

Active since June of 1957, the USMC Force Reconnaissance is capable of performing both deep reconnaissances as well as direct action operations.  This specialized task force is trained to operate independently behind enemy lines, while unconventional special ops while supporting conventional warfare.  Their primary focus is to support the Marine expeditionary and amphibious operations.

The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: USMC FORECON (Photo: USMC)

3.  US Navy Seals

Probably one of (if not) the most well-known Special Ops group, the US Navy Seals are highly specialized and trained in the air, on the land and the sea.  Their roots can be traced back to WWII when the US Navy realized the necessity to develop secret reconnaissance of landing beaches and coastal defenses.  This discovery resulted in the establishing of the Amphibious Scout and Raider School in 1942.

US Navy SEALs in hard firefight with ISIS militants
The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: A Navy SEALs in a gun battle in Iraq, 2016 (Photo: Video Still)

2.  US Army Delta Force

The US Army Delta Force unit generally consists of versatile, quiet professionals.  They are involved in unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, information operations as well as various other roles.  Delta Force operators refer to themselves as “The Unit”.  Delta Force was first organized in November of 1977 and is known for its versatility in conducting various types of covert operations, such as hostage rescues and raids. That earned them a second place on the Top 10 elite special operations units in US Military. The 1st SFOD-D (Delta) is considered as top-secret Tier 1 unit.

1.  DEVGRU, SEAL Team 6

This US Naval Special Warfare Development Group has a classified number of teams deployed worldwide.  The original Team 6 was initially dissolved back in 1987, but then re-established by the US Navy as the Special Warfare Development Group – DEVGRU.  Most information about DEVGRU remains highly classified and neither the White House nor the Department of Defense will comment on the details of its activities.

devgru operators
The Most Elite Military Units in the United States: Reportedly a member of US Navy SEALs Team Six, DEVGRU (Photo: XY)
  1. This looks more like picking random cards from SOF deck to decide the order rather than actual fact based justification for why one is placed over another.
    Especially hard to take serious when Army SF isn’t even included. I’m sure if it was, it looks like you’d have them ranked under force recon anyways. SMH

  2. Of course, there are many lost listed here, considerably less known by the masses, but nevertheless out there doing their mission.

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