Special Forces

Special Forces missions range from Counter-Terrorism to Humanitarian Efforts to Unconventional Warfare. These Soldiers are highly trained and physically tough — serving in one of the most difficult and rewarding programs in the Army.

Careers & Jobs
Special Forces Officer wearing Army service uniform.

Special Forces Officer (18A)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Entry Level


The Special Forces Officer is a captain who is responsible for planning, coordinating, directing and participating in Special Forces operations. He has several duties, including training, resource management, mission and logistics planning, and working with U.S. and foreign government agencies.

Job Duties

Typically, officers lead the team in the following types of missions:

  • Counter-Terrorism: prevent, deter and respond to terrorist activities and train the military of other nations
  • Direct Action: short duration strikes that are used to capture, recover or destroy enemy weapons/information, or recover designated personnel/material
  • Foreign Internal Defense: organize, assist and train the military and national defense forces of foreign governments
  • Special Reconnaissance: intelligence gathering to monitor enemy movements and operations
  • Unconventional Warfare: the use of unconventional warfare (a.k.a. guerilla warfare) to train, equip, advise and assist forces in enemy-held or controlled territory


Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.


Special Forces officers go through an extensive, demanding training cycle. You will learn skills in the many areas of combat by completing airborne training, and Special Forces Qualification Courses.

Helpful Skills

  • Self-discipline, confidence and intelligence
  • Physically and mentally fit to perform under pressure
  • Ability to make quick decisions
  • Capable of bearing numerous responsibilities


Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career in fields such as business management. An Officer in the Army is closely related to managerial positions in corporations.


Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at http://www.armypays.com.


  • AT&T, Inc.
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
  • Sears Holdings Corporation
  • Time Customer Service, Inc.
  • Walgreen Co.