As part of their many varied law enforcement duties Deputy U.S. Marshals carry out hundreds of special missions each year. To help execute these missions Marshals Service, and several district offices have organized a number of specialized units. These units carry out various assignments ranging form tactical operations to witness protection and court security.

Special Assignments

In 1994, the Marshals Service created the Office of District Affairs to assist district offices experiencing administrative and operational problems during extraordinary circumstances. The office is also responsible for coordinating special assignments for high-threat trials and deployments of the SOG. The office temporarily assigns Deputy Marshals when a district's permanently-assigned Deputies need assistance in carrying out their missions.

Special Operations Group

The Special Operations Group (SOG) is Marshals Service specially-trained and highly-disciplined national level tactical unit. The SOG is a self-supporting response team capable of responding to emergencies anywhere in the United States or its territories. Most of the Deputy Marshals who have volunteered to be SOG members serve as full-time Deputies in Marshals Service offices throughout the nation, and they remain on call 24 hours a day for potential SOG missions.

The SOG also maintains a small, full-time training cadre at the William F. Degan Tactical Operations Center at Camp Beauregard, La., where all SOG deputies undergo specialized training in tactics and weaponry.

The SOG's missions include: fugitive apprehension; dignitary protection; court security; transporting high-profile and dangerous prisoners; witness security; and asset seizures.

Missile Escort

The Missile Escort Program is another Marshals Service responsibility. Specially trained Deputy Marshals provide additional security and law enforcement assistance to the Department of Defense and the U.S. Air Force during the movement of nuclear weapons between military facilities.

Los Angeles District -Arrest Response Team

The Arrest Response Team, or ART, is a part time unit composed of volunteer Deputy Marshals operating out of the Los Angeles District Office.

The ART was formed by Deputy Marshals who saw the need for a rapid response unit capable of handling high-risk warrant service, such as individuals who had easy access to weapons, a history of violent offenses, or assaults on law enforcement officers. They are also handle high risk prisoner transports, and protection details.

Northern District of Illinois - Special Response Team

The Northern Illinois Special Response Team (SRT) was organized by volunteer Deputy Marshals in 1997. Today, the SRT is a part time unit composed of eleven primary team operators and a five member support staff member, who serve on the SRT in addition to their normal duties . The team specializes in conducting operations that, although normally routine, have been elevated to a high-risk status such as transporting prisoners who have a history of attempting escapes, and/or access to extensive outside resources.

Through intense training, the team is ready to respond to many tactical situations including: warrant entries; prisoner movements; cell extraction; counter vehicle assaults; active shooters; and high-risk protection details

District of Puerto Rico - Special Response Team

The District of Puerto Rico SRT is a specially-trained, rapid deployment team composed of six volunteer Deputy Marshals operating out of the Marshals Service Puerto Rico office. With the SRT, the Puerto Rico district management has the ability to call upon six well- trained, disciplined deputy marshals at a moment's notice.

The SRT was the brainchild of the deputies themselves. District deputies head up the Puerto Rico Fugitive Task Force, which actively manages over 200 federal and state fugitive investigations. This large caseload demands that the Service responds quickly to a great number of investigations, many of which require law enforcement officers with specialized SWAT tactics and equipment.

In addition to providing an in-house SWAT team, Deputy marshals have also provided investigative support, surveillance and tactical assistance to the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

The SRT is a part time unit with team members participating in tactical training during off- duty hours either prior to the workday or on weekends. The SRT has received training from the Puerto Rico Police Department's elite Special Operations Team, and US Army and Navy law enforcement and tactical units. In addition, team members have attended the FBI's firearms simulation course.

Witness Security Program

The Marshals Service provides for the security, health and safety of government witnesses and their immediate dependents whose lives are in danger as a result of their testimony against major criminals.

Since 1970, more than 7,000 witnesses and 16,000 family members have entered the Witness Security Program and have been protected, relocated and given new identities by the Marshals Service.

The successful operation of this program is widely recognized as providing a unique and valuable tool in the government's war against major criminal conspiracies and organized crime. Since the inception of the program, an overall conviction rate of 89 percent has been obtained as a result of protected witnesses' testimony.

Witnesses and their families typically get new identities with authentic documentation. Housing, medical care, job training and employment can also be provided. Subsistence funding to cover basic living expenses is also provided to the witnesses until they become self-sufficient in the relocation area.

The Marshals Service provides 24-hour protection to all witnesses while they are in a threatening environment, including pretrial conferences, trial testimonials and other court appearances. A recidivism study found that less than 17 percent of protected witnesses with criminal histories are arrested and charged with crimes after joining the program.

In both criminal and civil matters involving protected witnesses, the Marshals Service cooperates fully with local law enforcement and court authorities in bringing witnesses to justice or in having them fulfill their legal responsibilities.