The Marine Corps’ decade-old special operations command will lead the next rotation of operators into Iraq, Marine Corps Times has learned.
Marine Raiders will head the staff element for the next iteration of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Iraq, said Capt. Barry Morris, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The unit is set to deploy early next year and will be led by a MARSOC colonel, he said.
While a previous rotation of the task force was led by a joint Navy SEAL-MARSOC team, Morris said the Marines’ exclusive leadership of the task force represents a milestone for the command.
“This deployment is the first time MARSOC has formed and deployed a full CJSOTF staff,” he said in a statement provided to Marine Corps Times. “In that regard it does represent the next step in the command’s operational maturation.”
The task force includes special operations troops from all the military branches. Little has been made public about the task force’s activities in Iraq, where it supports coalition efforts to counter and defeat Islamic State militants. The task force has a liaison officer stationed in Baghdad to help the unit coordinate with other military elements supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, according to officials with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command.