The armed forces and other power structures of the United States have many special units designed to solve special problems. However, they are not always able to do all the work on their own and need the help of foreign organizations. On June 1, We Are The Mighty covered this topic in its article “Six Foreign Special Forces the United States Can Rely on.”
First of all, WATM marks the British special forces – Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS). Although they are two completely different organizations, they are considered together geographically. SAS is engaged in solving combat missions on land – it conducts reconnaissance and fights terrorism. SBS does the same at sea, but onshore activities are not ruled out.
SAS and SBS have experience working with US special forces. The most active work of this kind was observed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are special detachments from different countries, incl. Great Britain, participated in secret operations to find and eliminate the leaders of terrorist organizations.
French military personnel from COS
WATM recalls the French Command of Special Operations (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales). It is in charge of army, naval and air (including landing) special forces capable of conducting counter-terrorism measures, conducting reconnaissance, etc. in all environments.
In 2018, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that his subordinates and the French COS troops worked together in Syria. They were involved in a joint US-French operation to destroy the leaders of the terrorists.
The third European structure that has helped the United States in recent years is the German special forces unit Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK). This unit includes four companies in five platoons. Each platoon undergoes special training to work in certain conditions. There is a support company.
Sniper KSK in position
WATM points out that official Berlin usually does not talk about the work of its special forces, but some information about the KSK is still available. So, at the beginning of the 2000s, this part worked on the territory of Iraq. In recent years, there has been a deployment in Syria. In both cases, the KSK compound worked together with its American counterparts.
Special Forces Asia
Three other special forces, marked by WATM, belong to the security forces of Asian states. The first of these is the Israeli Sayeret Matkal. For decades, various rumors and guesses have been appearing around this organization. This is facilitated by both general secrecy and limited known information about successful operations. For example, after the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972, it was the employees of Sayeret Matkal who tracked down and killed the terrorists. In 1976, they released the hostages at Entebbe Airport, Uganda.
WATM reminds that the United States has long and fruitful cooperation with Israel. Sayeret Matkal collects various information about common opponents, and it is often shared with Washington. Some operations become known to the public. So, in the recent past, Israeli fighters organized surveillance of the objects of Islamic terrorists, which made it possible to identify a new method of mining – they planned to use laptops for terrorist attacks.
Iraq has its own Counter-Terrorism Service. This structure was created by American specialists after the 2003 intervention. Unlike a number of other foreign special forces, the Iraqi KTS is not part of the armed forces. The service has three special operations brigades.
Israeli “Sayeret Matkal” on exercises
Introduced in 2003, the Counter-Terrorism Service in its early years dealt with the remaining insurgent and terrorist cells. Almost all operations were carried out on the territory of Iraq. In 2014, the Service faced more serious challenges. It turned out to be the most efficient of all Iraqi security forces and contributed to the containment of terrorists.
Another notable structure is the Afghan National Army’s Special Operations Corps. Not the oldest organization is one of the most combat-ready components of the armed forces. In the course of its formation and development, it had significant problems; in particular, terrorists tried to infiltrate the ranks of special forces. However, in general, there is a positive trend. In addition, in 2018-2020. a program to build up the forces of special operations was carried out.
The ANA Special Operations Corps has repeatedly worked together with US units, with which it searched for and destroyed terrorists from various organizations. He also has extensive experience in independent work, incl. successful. For example, the Ktah Khas counterterrorism battalion in 2016, in just one operation, freed almost 60 hostages.
It should be noted that the authors of We Are The Mighty noted only a few special forces from foreign countries. There are such structures in one form or another in almost all countries, incl. in NATO member states. Many have experience of working with American colleagues, but only six were included in the new WATM list.
Iraqi special forces training
At present, the United States does indeed have developed special operations forces. The US SOCOM command is in charge of several dozen units and subunits for various purposes with differing capabilities. There are ground, naval and air units, support units, etc.
The special forces of one country are far from always able to cope with the task on their own, and they need some kind of support. This results in joint operations or long-term cooperation on various issues. A good example of this is the interaction of the US and Israeli armed forces. Most of the time they only exchange data on the state of enemy forces, but if necessary, they can conduct joint combat operations.
Such cooperation is very beneficial from the American point of view. It allows you not to scatter forces on all current issues and transfer part of the tasks to friendly countries. At the same time, it is almost always about assistance from the army, which has more experience in working in the given conditions, which also gives some benefits. Due to this, the ratio of the expended forces and the results obtained can be the most successful.
ANA special forces training activities
Countries friendly to the United States also benefit. The main one is the direct help of a developed, well-equipped and experienced ally. This facilitates the development of their own experience and the further development of their special forces. In addition, often, one’s own forces are insufficient for a specific mission, and therefore it is necessary to attract foreign colleagues.
US SOCOM, represented by various divisions, regularly organizes joint operations with foreign organizations in order to obtain mutually beneficial results of a military and political nature. Practically all recent local conflicts involving the United States did not go without such operations.
However, the established secrecy regime does not always allow American or foreign special forces to report on the activities carried out. Therefore, it is quite possible that individual episodes of cooperation with certain countries are still unknown – and because of this, the list from We Are The Mighty turns out to be shorter than it could have been.