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".
- Air Parachute Commando n° 10, CPA 10 (
French: Commando parachutiste de l'air n° 10) (CPA 10; "No. 10 Air
- Division des Opérations Spéciales (DOS; "Special Operations Division")
- Division des Opérations Spéciales/Transport (DOS/T; "Special Operations Division, Transport section") today, the Escadron de transport 3/61 "Poitou" – Uses
C-130 Hercules and
- Division des Opérations Spéciales / Hélicoptères (DOS/H; "Special Operations Division, Helicopter section"). Integrated into the 4th RHFS.
- Air Parachute Commando n° 20, CPA 20 (
French: Commando parachutiste de l'air n° 20) (CPA 20; "No. 20 Air
- Air Parachute Commando n° 30, CPA 30 (
French: Commando parachutiste de l'air n° 30) (CPA 30; "No. 30 Air
Other special operations forces under the command of DGSE's Action Division
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"):
- The Centre Parachutiste d'Entraînement Spécialisé (CPES, "Paratrooper Specialised Training Centre") in Cercottes for clandestine operations
- The Centre Parachutiste d'Instruction Spécialisée (CPIS, "Paratrooper Specialised Instruction Centre") in Perpignan for special commandos. The CPIS is the successor of the Centre d'entraînement à la Guerre Spéciale (CEGS, "Training Centre for Special Warfare")
- The Centre Parachutiste d'Entraînement aux Opérations Maritimes (CPEOM, "Paratrooper Training Centre for Maritime Operations") in Quelern, which instructs combat divers. The CPEOM is the successor of the Centre d'Instruction des Nageurs de Combat d'Aspretto.