We all already know almost everything about Tier 1 and Tier 2, but what is with the Tier 3? Ever since the Operation Neptune Spear (Osama bin Laden raid), the United States has gone bonkers for US Navy SEALs and Military Special Operations Forces in general. In the United States military special operations forces hierarchy, there are three different Tiers used to classify units, unofficially.
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 the use of “Tier” in such a non-existence ranking system. DOD manual on Terms does not have a Tier system of the ranking list.
The Tier system was designed by JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command). Some information suggests that Tiers are also classified by the fundings they get. Tier 1 receives the most, then Tier 2, etc. However, today people associate Tier level with unit prestige and skill. Yes, it’s true that 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 as large and conventional warfare units. This level has the most people and the lowest amount of funding when 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 be also referred to as “White,” and comprise larger infantry support elements. These are not special forces units, but provide broad manpower support when needed 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 Riverines
- Air Force 142d Fighter Wing
- 147th Reconnaissance Wing
In fact, Tier 3 is the “hammer” in the “Hammer and Scalpel” analogy.