Special Operations are a unique class of specialized military operations that include reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and counter-terrorism actions, and are typically conducted by small groups of highly-trained personnel, emphasizing sufficiency, stealth, speed, and tactical coordination, commonly known as "Special Forces".
Special Operations are commonly conducted by various organizations in the Halo universe by specialized military forces of the Covenant and the United Nations Space Command, being utilized in varying areas by each faction in turn.
United Nations Space Command
The United Nations Space Command placed a large emphasis on creating Special Operations Forces, as if devoting their resources to "wonder weapons". They had several major Special Operations forces, those being the Orbital Drop Shock Trooper commandos of the UNSC Marine Corps and the SPARTAN-II and III super-soldiers of the UNSC Navy and the Office of Naval Intelligence, respectively.
Each nation or colony that is a member usually has its own Special Operations Groups for conducting missions in their best interests. Members of these groups can be recruited to become Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.
- Main article: Covenant Special Operations
In the Covenant, Special Operations soldiers are top-quality personnel sent in many combat environments, including those without high-risk, as typically expected in the context of a specialized operation. The massive Special Warfare Group of the Covenant maintains a Covenant Special Operations division that customarily fields a large number of Covenant special forces to the battlefield. These castes include Special Operations Elites (including Special Operations Commanders and Special Operations Officers) and Special Operations Grunts, Jackals and Hunters being the notable exceptions from the Covenant species with Special Operations units.