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Spanish Joint Special Operations Command

The Joint Special Operations Command is the Spanish command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Groups of the Spanish Army. It is based at Alicante, Alférez Rojas Navarrete barracks.


The Joint Special Operations Command is one of the most modern organizations in the Spanish Army. Its history, though short, is fruitful, dating back just four decades with the creation of the Special Operations Companies (COEs). It was established in 1997, following the organizational structure of other NATO armies. In the 1980s, the Spanish Army created six Special Operation Groups and also established a Special Operations group in the Spanish Legion, known as the Bandera de Operaciones Especiales de la Legión.


Special Operations, given their unique characteristics, cannot be carried out by conventional forces. They are conducted using special procedures in any situation to achieve strategic, operational, or tactical objectives and to accomplish political or military aims. The command responsible for their use must have specific guidance to employ Special Operations forces according to their characteristics and those of the objective, and it will be located at the highest level of the joint operational structure.


In peacetime and crisis situations, the achievement of strategic or operational objectives will be subject to political decision-making for the use of these units. Although the spirit of guerrilla warfare of the former Joint Special Operations Companies is still preserved in the MOE Units, the missions undertaken in the MOE have evolved completely, and this will have a decisive influence on the character and spirit of its Units. Traditional "guerrilla" operations are no longer carried out, in which a patrol would remain hidden in the area, strike, and then return to hiding, conducting planning on the ground. The Command believes that the success in completing the mission always depends on perfect preparation. Serving in the Special Operations Command means belonging to the elite of the Spanish army. The diversity of activities carried out in this Unit, both sports (diving, climbing, parachuting, skiing) and the specific military activities of this Unit, keep the Special Operations soldier in optimal psychophysical conditions and high military preparation at all times.


Its internal organization differs from the traditional structure in the Spanish Army because the staff is smaller but of a higher rank compared to the rest of the units. It is a Brigadier General who directs the Command. The Units that compose the Special Operations Command are the following:

  • Headquarters
  • Headquarters Group
  • Grupo de Operaciones Especiales "Valencia III"
  • Grupo de Operaciones Especiales “Tercio de Ampurdan IV"
  • XIX Bandera de Operaciones Especiales de La Legión "C.L. Maderal Oleaga" 
  • MOE Logistics Unit


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