Special Operations Command North Logo

Special Operations Command North






“Since our establishment, SOCNORTH has continuously evolved, identifying the objectives and effects required to support the defense of North America, and developing a theory of victory we will operationalize and use to deter, disrupt, degrade, and deny competitor activity in support of globally integrated layered defense and deterrence of the homeland.” 

--Col. Matthew Tucker, SOCNORTH Commander


Our Story

SOCNORTH was established Nov. 5, 2013, to synchronize integrated effects with allies and partners and other theater special operations commands to defend forward, generate effects below the level of conflict, conduct day-to-day campaigning, and generate positions of advantage for the Nation.

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In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S. Northern Command was established on October 1, 2002, and charged with the mission to protect the homeland, with an area of responsibility spanning the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Within USNORTHCOM, a small staff element, the Special Operations Division, had the responsibility of integrating Special Operations and regional partnership in support of the Combatant Command’s lines of effort. As partnership with Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada expanded, U.S. Special Operations Command and USNORTHCOM realized a Theater Special Operations Command was necessary to enhance the command and control of special operation forces throughout the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility.

On December 11, 2012, the Secretary of Defense directed the establishment of Special Operations Command North at the request of the USSOCOM and USNORTHCOM commanders. Their vision was an organization built around the USNORTHCOM Special Operations Division, which would normalize Special Operations command and control and enhance execution of existing security cooperation, civil support, and homeland defense responsibilities in the USNORTHCOM area of responsibility. Activated on Nov. 5, 2013, SOCNORTH was tasked to provide command, control, and coordination of Special Operations in support of USNORTHCOM building upon the SOD established relationships with U.S. government departments and agencies, partner nations, and other organizations as part of an integrated theater strategy to promote regional security, outpace threats, and advance U.S. strategic interests.

Since its establishment, SOCNORTH has matured and now includes representatives from across the whole of government as well as Canada’s Special Operations Forces Command. Its personnel have distinguished themselves by building partner nation special operational capacity, improving our partners’ operational and tactical understanding of the security challenges facing the United States, and providing critical capabilities to civil authorities when required. SOCNORTH provides USNORTHCOM, its operational control headquarters, access to USSOCOM’s SOF enterprise, which deepens the USNORTHCOM combatant command’s understanding of the trans-regional, all domain, and multi-functional environment. Over the past decade, SOCNORTH has expanded its scope and scale from its original mandate of generating SOF options in support of counterterrorism and counternarcotics to a highly operational command that can defend forward, generate effects below the level of conflict, and conduct day-to-day campaigning.

Key to SOCNORTH’s success has been, and will continue to be, the intelligence, maturity, judgement, and interpersonal skills of the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians, and civilian personnel assigned to SOCNORTH.

The Special Operations Command North Airborne Patch SOCNORTH Unit Crest / Shoulder Patch Symbolism

The gold spearhead represents Special Operations Command North’s combatant command relationship to U.S. Special Operations Command. Blue is the prominent color of the insignia and is indicative of the Command’s patriotism, loyalty, and devotion to duty. The eight-pointed polestar denotes the North Star which historically has been used by service members to orientate themselves. The V-42 dagger was the fighting knife issued to the First Special Force, a joint American/Canadian commando unit during WWII. The four instances of the dagger represent both the four nations in U.S. Northern Command’s area of responsibility: United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. The four daggers further denote the four services that make up special operations. The single larger dagger pointing north is further recognition to the Northern American geography associated with the Command.

SOCNORTH plans, coordinates, and conducts special operations in collaboration with mission partners, to assure allies and partners, compete below the level of armed conflict, deter conventional and irregular threats, and set conditions to execute contingency operations to defend the United States and its interests.

SOCNORTH's area of responsibility mirrors that of U.S. Northern Command’s and includes air, land, and sea approaches. The AOR encompasses the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and the surrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. The AOR also includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Straits of Florida, and portions of the Caribbean region to include the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The SOCNORTH commander is responsible for maintaining existing relationships with regional SOF organizations in Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas and facilitates their contributions to the cooperative defense of North America.


Nov. 14, 2023

Special Operation Command North celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Special Operations Command North recognized its 10th anniversary at the command headquarters, Nov. 5, 2023.

Nov. 6, 2023

Special Operations Command North hosts second annual Special Operations Forces Symposium

Special Operations Command North hosted its second annual Special Operations Forces Symposium at the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson, Colo., Oct. 23-27, 2023.

06/22/2023 June 30, 2023

Exercise Vital Archer 2023

PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colorado – Vital Archer 23, a bilateral exercise focused on counterterrorism and counter weapons of mass destruction, came to a close June 22, 2023, across the United States and Canada. Led by U.S. Northern Command and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, Vital Archer 23 featured approximately 1,400 participants from 23 U.S. and Canadian government agencies from across both nations’ national security enterprises, with special operations forces from both nations.

Command Leadership

United States Army Colonel Matthew P. Tucker
Colonel Matthew P. Tucker
Commander Special Operations Command North
Chief Master Sergeant Clint A. Grizzell
Chief Master Sergeant Clint A. Grizzell
Command Senior Enlisted Leader Special Operations Command North