Special thanks to Ingo Mathe and our friends at Spartan.at for sharing this article with us. -Jack

By Ingo Mathe, German Lieutenant (SEAL) Ret.

Effective 1 April 2014 the German naval unit designated as the Specialized Operational Forces of the Navy (Spezialisierte Einsatzkräfte Marine – SEKM) was deactivated. Since its inception over ten years ago – on 30 July 2003 – the SEKM had experienced one of the highest ops tempos of any German military unit, with squads, teams and sometimes larger formations constantly deployed. One of the integral elements of the unit were the German Naval Special Operations Forces known as the Kampfschwimmerkompanie or “Combat Swimmers” Company. But the incorporation of the Kampfschwimmer SOF into the SEKM, which also included specialized but operationally “conventional” forces, conflicted with a directive passed in 2004 which calls for strict separation between operational control of conventional forces and SOF.

The recent formation of the Naval Special Operations Command (Kommando Spezialkräfte – Marine or KSM) finally accommodates that directive and returns to the original concept of independent Special Operations Forces. So this concept is not new.