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Special Operations Command (France)

The Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS; Special Operations Command) is the organisation which coordinates the use of the French special forces of all military branches (Army, Navy, and Air Force). Similar to USSOCOM, NLD SOCOM or UKSF, COS was created on 24 June 1992, following the Gulf War. Its role is to direct and coordinate missions for special forces units; these are permanently under its direct command and immediately available for action. The command is led by a brigadier general or rear admiral, a NATO OF-6 post.

France's Special Operations Command
Logo du Commandement des Opérations Spéciales (COS).svg
Founded24 June 1992
Country France
TypeSpecial operations
RoleProvide fully capable special operations forces to defend France and its interests and plan and synchronize operations against terrorist networks
Size3,746 authorized personnel
  • 307 general staff
  • 3,439 operatives
Part ofMinistry of Defence
HeadquartersBalard, Paris, France
Contre Admiral Laurent Isnard, French Navy




Air ForceEdit

  • Air Parachute Commando n° 10, CPA 10 (French: Commando parachutiste de l'air n° 10)
  • Division des Opérations Spéciales (DOS; "Special Operations Division")
    • Division des Opérations Spéciales/Transport (DOS/T; "Special Operations Division, Transport section") today, the Escadron de transport 3/61 "Poitou" – Uses C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall.
    • Division des Opérations Spéciales / Hélicoptères (DOS/H; "Special Operations Division, Helicopter section"). Integrated into the 4th RHFS.

Other special operations forces under the command of DGSE's Action DivisionEdit

The COS is not in charge of all special military units within the French Armed Forces. Action Division of France's Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) is responsible for planning and performing clandestine and covert operations including black operations. The core specialisations of the Action Division are sabotage, destruction of materiel, assassination, detaining/kidnapping, and infiltration/exfiltration of persons into/from hostile territory.

DGSE operatives are based in three so-called "training centres", officially not combat units then, which compose the Centre d'Instruction des Réservistes Parachutistes (CIRP, "Paratrooper Reservist Instruction Centre"):

  • The Centre Parachutiste d'Entraînement Spécialisé (CPES, "Paratrooper Specialised Training Centre") in Cercottes for clandestine operations
  • The Centre Parachutiste d'Instruction Spécialisée (CPIS, "Paratrooper Specialised Instruction Centre") in Perpignan for special commandos. The CPIS is the successor of the Centre d'entraînement à la Guerre Spéciale (CEGS, "Training Centre for Special Warfare")
  • The Centre Parachutiste d'Entraînement aux Opérations Maritimes (CPEOM, "Paratrooper Training Centre for Maritime Operations") in Quelern, which instructs combat divers. The CPEOM is the successor of the Centre d'Instruction des Nageurs de Combat d'Aspretto.

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