Special Forces Officer ... (Military - Officer)  What They Do

Just the Facts


Special forces officers advise commanders on all aspects of special operations. They are experienced subject matter experts in unconventional warfare and operations fusing intelligence and planning at all levels across the operational continuum. They must have detailed knowledge of geography, economy, political structure, armed forces, and history.

This career is part of the Government and Public Administration cluster National Security pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Plans, controls, and executes foreign internal defense, strike operations, strategic reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and other related special operations
  • Develops interpersonal and communicative skills to facilitate interaction with foreign officers, soldiers, and civilians
  • Exercises high level of maturity, experience, judgment, and the ability to rapidly apply critical thought to the operational environment
  • Demonstrates advanced language capabilities and cultural familiarity
  • Parachutes from an aircraft
  • Ensures observance of safety standards in special weapons test, maintenance, and repair operations
  • Supervises administration, prepares daily routines, and maintains records
  • Screens discipline cases, reports, and correspondence
  • Performs airborne, diving, and demolition operations
  • Conducts area studies of potential operational areas, acquiring detailed knowledge of their geography, economy, political structure, armed forces, and history

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Seeing clearly in low light conditions
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Weekend work