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Special Operations Forces


The Special Operations Forces (SOF) are a key element of strategic deterrence, designed to accomplish various tasks using special methods and techniques in order to prevent escalation or stop an armed conflict against the Republic of Belarus, launched by any aggressor.


 








Vadim Denisenko

Major General

Commander of the Special Operations Forces

Vadim Denisenko was born in Budapest (Hungary) on 3 September 1967.

After graduation from the Leningrad-based Kirov Higher Military Command School in 1988, he occupied various command posts from platoon leader to deputy battalion chief.

Upon completion of the command and staff department of the Belarusian Military Academy in 1998, Vadim Denisenko occupied various posts in the Main Operational Directorate and Special Operations Forces Directorate of the General Staff.

Having graduated with honours from the Russian General Staff Academy in 2008, Vadim Denisenko was appointed commander of the 38th Guards Independent Mobile Brigade. In 2011-2012, he served as deputy chief - chief of the combat training department of the Special Operations Forces Command.

On 16 November 2012, Vadim Denisenko was appointed Deputy Commander of the Western Operational Command, following a relevant President's decree.

On 11 January 2014, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko appointed Col. Vadim Denisenko Commander of the Special Operations Forces.





Mission


SOF units are constantly ready for engagement both in peace and war time. They can conduct an operation independently or in conjunction with various units of the Armed Forces, the Internal Troops and other services of the Belarusian Interior Ministry, State Border Committee and State Security Committee. 


The Special Operations Forces Command was established to exercise command and control over subordinate units, supervise their combat and mobilisation training, plan their activities, provide force development and tackle other issues. 


Key tasks of the Special Operations Forces Command: 

  • maintaining continuous command and control over SOF;
  • upholding proper operational capability and combat readiness of the troops;
  • developing theory of military art, as well as new forms and techniques of operations on defending the country;
  • planning SOF’s employment;
  • pursuing ideological work aimed at maintaining SOF’s readiness to carry out their mission in any contingency;
  • securing state secrets in SOF.

Organisation


SOF comprise:

  • the 38th Independent Guards Mobile Brigade (deployed in Brest);
  • the 103rd Independent Guards Mobile Brigade (deployed in Vitebsk);
  • the 5th Independent Special Purpose Brigade (deployed in Maryina Gorka).



Historical brief


In the late 1980s – early 1990s, the most battleworthy formations of the Soviet Armed Forces were the airborne ones. As a highly mobile branch of the Army, they were intended to deliver a wide range of operations behind enemy lines. According to the Field Manual, airborne formations were to accomplish multiple tasks both in conjunction with a ground force and independently.

The political changes of the late 20th century and the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of a number of sovereign states, including the Republic of Belarus. The 103th Airborne Division, 38th Air Assault Brigade and 5th Independent Special Purpose Brigade, deployed on our territory at the time, were included in the Belarusian Armed Forces. The country’s military and political leadership was facing a difficult problem of preserving the formations and reconsidering their tasks. This was determined by the purely defensive nature of Belarus’ military doctrine. As a result they were reorganised into independent mobile brigades and constituted mobile forces. According to relevant regulations of the time, mobile forces were an Army branch, which mission was to support strategic deployment of the Belarusian Armed Forces, disrupt special operations of the enemy and tackle other contingency tasks.

The role of the newly established formations in the Armed Forces was not determined immediately. Initially, in the mid-1990s, their employment was similar to that of combined arms units. During the exercises held in those years mobile forces were mostly applied to conduct defensive and offensive operations and cover separate directions. That way their key advantages like swiftness, high mobility, combat readiness and fighting efficiency were not utilised. In the end, the principal tasks of mobile forces in peace and war time were elaborated, following extensive research in the sphere.

As a result of painstaking work, the mobile formations and the C2 system were further reformed. The first step was dedicated to chain of command reorganisation, making the brigades directly subordinate to the General Staff and establishing a SOF office in its operations directorate. In early 2004, the SOF directorate was set up in the General Staff and the units’ tables of organisation underwent radical changes. This was bolstered by the increasing role played by task forces in contemporary wars. On 1 August 2007, the directorate was transformed into the Special Operations Forces Command.

Presently, the country’s military leadership has well-shaped understanding of special operations and SOF’s employment. Theoretical and practical studies in the area are being carried out and will progress further.

The Special Operations Forces are military units, organised, trained and equipped to perform special missions for achieving political, military, economic and psychological goals. 



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