The Marine Corps is close to completing a realignment of its elite Special Operations troops, sending some of them to the Middle East this month as part of a broader effort to refocus after years of fighting in Afghanistan, according to a top general.

Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the new commander of the Marine Corps’ Special Operations force, declined to disclose which country or countries the troops will deploy to, but said they will be spread across the Middle East and focused on training and coordinating with friendly governments to guard against insurgencies. Others already have been deployed to Africa and the Pacific.

“It’s really more of a proactive mission to prevent conflict from arising through capable forces, rather than a reactive crisis-management type thing,” said Osterman, speaking by phone from his headquarters at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in his first extended interview since taking over Marine Corps Special Operations in August. […]