We know almost everything about Tier 1 and Tier 2 special forces, but what is Tier 3? Since Operation Neptune Spear (Osama bin Laden raid), the United States has gone bonkers for US Navy SEALs and Military Special Operations Forces. Three different tiers classify units unofficially in the United States military special operations forces hierarchy.
Because there is no official US Military system that ranks the US Special Operations units in the United States by their effectiveness, missions, capabilities, training, or security level. This would include using “Tier” in such a non-existence ranking system. DoD manual on Terms does not have a Tier system for the ranking list.
The Tier system was designed by JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). Some information suggests that Tiers are also classified by the funding they get. Tier 1 receives the most, then Tier 2, etc. However, today people associate Tier level with unit prestige and skill. Tier 1 units are more prestigious than Tier 2 or 3 units, but that’s not technically how it works.
Tier 3 forces are considered significant and conventional warfare units. This level has the most people and the lowest amount of funding compared to the levels below it (visually speaking). Their training also tends to be more “basic” when compared to Tier 2 and Tier 1 units.
Tier 3 units
Tier 3 can also be called “White” and comprise more prominent infantry support elements. These are not special forces units but provide broad manpower support for large-scale engagements. Some examples are:
- US Army’s 10th Mountain Division
- 82nd Airborne Division
- 101st Airborne Division
- Marine Corps Recon Battalions
- Force Recon Companies
- Navy Riverine
- Air Force 142d Fighter Wing
- 147th Reconnaissance Wing
Tier 3 is the “hammer” in the “Hammer and Scalpel” analogy.