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Once, They Were Simple Riflemen: After years of planning and discussions behind the scenes, the Pentagon announced it will form a US Marine Corps special operations element, called the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC). Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that the new organization has the backing of both US Special Operations Command and USMC. It will comprise three subelements with a total of about 2,600 marines under the command of Brig. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik. Rumsfeld did not say when the new command would formally activate.