German special-ops in public eye – Foreign SOF

German special-ops in public eye – Foreign SOF – Brief Article

Dr. Graham H. Turbiville, Jr.

The Bundeswehr’s still-developing Special Operations Division, or DSO, and one of its subordinate elements, the Special Forces Command, or KSK, have received increased media coverage since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. The DSO, which includes two airborne brigades trained for traditional air assault missions as well as the KSK and other elements, was established several years ago and is expected to reach a full strength of 8,000 personnel by the end of 2003. Despite austere German military budgets, DSO elements are reportedly receiving new equipment, including communications means, light armor and specialized weapons. DSO still lacks long-range air transport and modernized combat helicopters. It has been a stated German goal in on-going transformation and military-reform efforts to create mobile forces capable of dealing with the new challenges in the contemporary operational environment. The war on terrorism quickly highlighted the DSO as the German force best-suited for mission s beyond traditional central European and regional requirements. KSK soldiers, whose past overseas missions have reportedly included deployments to the Balkans and to the Middle East, are widely reported to be engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan together with special units from the U.S., Britain and other allies, but the German government has been largely silent on specifics.

COPYRIGHT 2002 John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group