Based in Pau, Pyrenees-Atlantiques France, the French Army Special Forces Brigade – one of the top special forces in the world was first activated in July of 2002 and are still an active . They are one of three units which train together annually in an exercise known as “Gorgones” a name meaning ‘three mythological figures’. The purpose of this Special Forces Brigade – which in French is Brigade des Forces Speciales Terre, BFST – is to support peacekeeping operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Afghanistan.
The French Army Special Forces Brigade is composed of the following three units:
1) 1er RPIMa is highly skilled and experienced, specializing in areas such as counter-terrorism and patrol operations (amphibious, jungle, mountain or motorized). They are among Europe’s most highly trained Special Forces, partly due to their continued operational deployments over the past thirty years. They are based in Bayonne.
2) 13e RDP, the French Army’s Long Range Recon Patrol, is comprised of seven squadrons. Three of these squadrons are dedicated to intelligence, two head up long-range communications and the final two are training squadrons. This unit is based in Martignas-sur-Jalle.
3) 4e RHFS is responsible for providing air transportation and support anywhere in the world to France’s Special Forces.
Not much information is available on the selection and training process for the BFST. However, this lack of information, in no way, implies a less elite or less experienced group of individuals.
The French Army Special Forces Brigade is still considered one of the top Special Forces worldwide.