Special Forces CIF Companies

Every Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG(A)) includes a Combatant Commanders In-extremis Force (CIF) Company. The CIF is a specially-trained and resourced element that is focused on Direct Action (DA) / Counter Terrorism (CT) missions. This role includes both training foreign tactical units in DA / CT techniques and carrying out DA / CT operations themselves, often with partner nation forces.

CIF Operations

In recent times, Special Forces CIF Companies have trained and stood up tactical units in Iraq, Afghansitan and the Philippines. A Special Forces CIF was, for a period of time, part of Task Force 145, a JSOC-commanded Joint Special Operations Task Force that operated in Iraq, targetting Al Qaeda and the insurgency. As part of TF 145, SF CIFs led Iraq tactical units that they had trained on a number of direct action raids.

CIF Organization

Precise structure of a given SFG(A)'s CIF may differ but are typically made up of a number of ODAs, or A-Teams, plus a single ODB. Similarly to other tactical units, a CIF ODA is organized into assaulters, breachers and marksmen/snipers.

CIF Training

Green Berets assigned to a CIF Company undergo the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course (SFARTAETC). SFARTAERTC is an 8-week course that is run several times a year at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg. The course teaches small unit tactics / close quarters combat techniques in urban environments. Precise details of the SFARTAERTC syllabus are classified but it is thought to include mechanical and explosive breaching, surgical target acquisition, and high stress tactical shooting methods and techniques.

CIF Images / Further Info

Special Forces CIF
Following insertion via MH-60 helicopter, Green Berets with a CIF Company intercept a vehicle and secure its occupants during the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course. (SFARTAETC)
US Army photo by U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Justin P. Morelli / Released


CIF Special Forces
Members of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) CIF Company board a vessel during Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) training, May 2011.
US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tobias McCoy

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