Special operations are military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, selected, trained and equipped forces using unconventional techniques and modes of employment. These activities may be conducted across the full range of military activities to achieve the objective. Politico-military considerations may require discreet or covert techniques and the acceptance of a degree of political, military, or physical risk not associated with conventional operations. (MC437/2)
Special Reconnaissance (SR)
SR is an activity conducted by SOF to support the collection of a commander’s Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR) by employing unique capabilities. These activities may vary widely, from traditional ‘eyes on target’ surveillance in high risk environments to other actions that may include, but are not limited to: human intelligence (HUMINT) collection, close target reconnaissance or the employment of ISR assets.
Direct Action (DA)
DA is a precise offensive operation conducted by SOF which is limited in scope and duration in order to seize, destroy, disrupt, capture, exploit, recover, or damage high value or high payoff targets. DA differs from conventional offensive actions in the level of risk, techniques employed and the degree of precision utilized to achieve a specific effect.
Military assistance (MA)
MA is a broad range of activities that support and influence critical friendly assets through training, advising, mentoring, or the conduct of combined operations. The range of MA is thus considerable, and includes, but is not limited to, capability building of friendly security forces, engagement with local, regional, and national leadership or organisations and civic actions supporting and influencing the local population. SOF conduct MA within their field of expertise.