Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 138

Yes, its history is one steeped in the tradition of World War II’s Raiders, but the formal structure of MARSOC is one that arose in the midst of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan less than one decade ago. In this sense, the book is as much a learning process for the writer as it is for the reader. Over the course of about 350 pages, Couch spans a great breadth of subjects related to MARSOC, including the history of Marine SOF, MARSOC’s current structure, and the role it has played in recent conflicts in the Middle East. Despite the frequent lack of detail in accordance with the classification that comes alongside MARSOC training, Couch also manages to give a close look at the pipeline from marine to CSO or special security officer (SSO). Unfortunately, Couch does not take advantage of the relative dearth of history to build upon the story of Class 1-13 or the few that have come before it. The book frequently comes off as prescriptive and shies away from the telling of this class’s story in a personal manner. Considering the lack of history, this book’s most thoughtful opportunity was to tell the story of the marines who choose to go through this process, their backgrounds, and where they ended up (while CSOs stay within the MARSOC community, SSOs cycle out akin to the Army Ranger model). That is not to say the book does not have value. In a policy environment that emphasizes interoperability, it is a worthwhile practice to understand not only the capabilities of corollary units, but also their culture, background, and values, parti