Besides the Land Forces and the Air Force, the Austrian Armed Forces also include Special Operations Forces. Commando soldiers form the core of this service, training for deployments in the most adverse terrain, climate, weather, and threat conditions.
These elite soldiers’ capabilities include commando operations on land, on water, and following air landings.
The Special Operations Forces are permanently ready to deploy domestically and abroad. As a rule, they accomplish their missions with small, covertly operating units, performing the following tasks:
- special reconnaissance to gather key information,
- commando operations such as freeing soldiers that have been taken hostage, detaining wanted individuals (e.g. war criminals), and destroying dangerous weapon emplacements,
- military support such as training soldiers, including in hostile environments, at the request of friendly or partner nations.
When Austrian nationals are evacuated from crisis regions, commando soldiers are in charge of their security. In international operations, commando soldiers support other units of the Austrian Armed Forces if the respective crisis region’s threat situation so requires. In the past, commando soldiers have, for instance, deployed to Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan, and Chad.