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|France's Special Operations Command
|Founded||24 June 1992|
|Role||Provide fully capable special operations forces to defend France and its interests and plan and synchronize operations against terrorist networks|
3,746 authorized personnel
|Part of||Ministry of Defence|
|Headquarters||Balard, Paris, France|
|Counter admiral Laurent Isnard, French Navy|
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 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.
The COS consists of 2 known “circles”. COS does not officially recognise the 2nd circle but it’s a well known term used by members and units. The 1st circle is under permanent COS command and the 2nd circle being called in for reinforcement. In the end, the COS can commandeer any members of the armed forces for special operations if necessary. There is no official documentation confirming the term “2nd circle".
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"):