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Combined special forces selection course a first

By Major Roger Brennan

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Photo: © Major Roger Brennan

ADF candidates march in to camp during the common selection course. Photo: © Major Roger Brennan

For the first time, Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) has run a combined selection course, allowing ADF personnel to apply for either special forces (SF) operators or SF integrators - such as medics, signallers or engineers.

About 250 candidates from across the ADF travelled to Bindoon Training Area in Western Australia for the 2024 Special Forces Common Selection Course, to be assessed for service based on personal and professional attributes.

They will then be selected for reinforcement training for SOCOMD core capabilities as SF operators or SF integrators.

Commanding Officer ADF School of Special Operations Lieutenant Colonel A said the significant weight of effort the command has put into orchestrating common selection demonstrated the importance it placed on finding the right people. “We select people for service in SOCOMD using an attribute-based assessment, where the course builds in intensity and applies pressure to ensure the candidate's true character can be observed,” Lieutenant Colonel A said.

“The Special Forces Common Selection Course is the main effort for SOCOMD for the month of May, with all SOCOMD units working together for the planning and execution of this key force-generation activity.”

During the first week, before sunrise, candidates woke to conduct a timed 20km pack march, already feeling the effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue.

Senior directing staff from Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) J said the fatiguing nature of the program was developed purposely and collaboratively across the command to align with real-world demands of special operations.

“Fitness levels and cognitive behaviours are observed throughout the course, and the data points we collect enable candidates to have a genuine opportunity to demonstrate leadership and collective or individual skills,” WO2 J said.

“This also ensures all of SOCOMD's candidates go through the same experience during selection no matter the role they apply for.”

At the end of the course, successful candidates will move into the reinforcement cycle or specialist training.

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