The training

The selection and the education of the operators is very hard but everyday training is even harder. Indeed, the outcome of  Special Operations is based on regular, realistic and high quality training.

All the operators have one or more specialties. A wide variety of skills must be trained on a regular basis.

Every operator is specialized in an insertion capacity. These insertion techniques are trained during dedicated weeks. This type of training is mainly focused on techniques. In order to train in favorable conditions, those training weeks are conducted abroad were the terrain and the weather are optimal:

    • AIR (Very High Altitude jumps, above 4000m): US (Arizona) Portugal, Morocco, Czech Republic
    • LAND (mountaineering): France, Italy, Austria
    • SEA (diving with air or oxygen): Greece, Netherlands, Corsica, Norway, Curaçao.
All operators have one or several functional specialties as well:

    • Special Forces Decision Making Process – planning and direction of operations
    • Intelligence collection and processing
    • Counter Terrorism operations
    • Communication and Information Systems
    • Advanced emergency medical care for isolated personnel
    • Sniper – long distance precision shooting
    • Explosives (Breacher) – doors, windows and walls breaching
    • Joint Terminal Air Controller – the ability to guide airstrikes from the ground
    • Maritime Interdiction Operations – anti-piracy or Opposed Boarding Operations
    • ISR drone pilot
    • Sensitive Site Exploitation – collect and exploit captured data and equipment
    • SF combatives: unarmed combat
    • and many more
Those specialties are taught and trained in the centers of competencies of the Belgian Defence or in our own Centre of Excellence SF, in civilian institutions or in international schools. Our operators meet regularly their counterparts from other NATO or EU nations in order to share and exchange their know-how.

Beyond their specialties, every operator of the SF Gp has to master some skills that are common to everybody in the unit:

    • Basic SOF skills: all that sustains the job of a SOF operator like orienteering, physical endurance, combat shooting, camouflage, observations, etc.
    • Military Free Fall: free fall jumps
    • Amphibious Surface Insertion: Kayak or snorkeling
    • Counter terrorism training (CT): Tactics, techniques and procedures for combat in urbanized areas but with emphasis on Hostage Release Operations (HRO), learned during an in-house CT course.
    • Close Protection: protection of (V) VIPs
Once those skills are well trained, the operators switch to another type of training : the environmental training. Now all they have learned and trained for is integrated in various environments like:

    • High mountains: mainly in French, Swiss, Austrian or Italian Alps
    • Arctic: Sweden and Norway
    • Urban: Jordan, US and Germany
    • Desert: Djibouti
    • Plains and temperate forests: West and Central Europe
We must also mention that several times a year, many Special Operations Forces units meet during big-scale international exercises. During those exercises, the operators from many countries have the opportunity to plan and execute together complex operations. They are generally supported by numerous state of the art assets like fast raiding ships, combat planes and helicopters, drones, skidoos or discreet civilian vehicles.