Canada’s Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) is the Canadian Armed Forces special operations force. It was created in 2006 and is based at CFB Petawawa in Ontario. The unit is tasked with conducting high-risk special operations missions, including counter-terrorism, direct action, and special reconnaissance.
CSOR is part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). It works closely with other special operations units, such as the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) and the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU). CSOR is a highly trained and well-equipped unit capable of conducting various complex and challenging missions.
The CSOR is a battalion-sized unit that consists of three other specialized elite units. CSOR, alongside other special units under CANSOFCOM, has been active in the War on Terror (Iraq, Afghanistan).
The CSOR was founded in 2006. Despite being a relatively young force in the World of Special Forces, Canada’s Special Operations Regiment can trace its history back to the famous Canadian/U.S 1st Special Service Force, better known as the Devil’s Brigade, which distinguished itself during operations in Italy in World War II.
Like then, Canada’s Special Operations Regiment concept is of a highly-trained, special infantry unit along the lines of the U.S Army Ranger Regiment and world similar special operations forces. Their focus is on DA (direct action), reconnaissance, support of other Special Operations Forces units, and foreign forces training.
Selection and training
The selection process occurs every September 11-22. The CSOR’s selection training is open to male and female applicants from the Army, Navy, and Air Force who pass the 2-day evaluation course. The prerequisites of this course are that applicants have at least two years of service (reservists three years) and have a security clearance.
The selection phase is divided into two categories to which an applicant may apply for one to begin the evaluation:
The first category (phobias and physical fitness)
Candidates are tested and must not have phobias about heights, water, or confined spaces. If not qualified, they must be Basic Paratrooper qualified or volunteer for Basic Paratrooper training. All candidates must be prepared to conduct Insert/Extract training which will require an absence of phobias to heights and a high level of physical fitness.
- 20-meter shuttle run(minimum 5 minutes rest).
- Minimum 40 pushups(2 minutes rest).
- Minimum 40 situps (in one minute) (minimum 2 minutes rest).
- Minimum 5 pullups (15 minutes rest).
Second Category (swim test, marches)
- Candidates conducting a Basic Military Swim Test (Water safety knowledge, abandon ship emergencies, rudimentary swimming skills).
- 13km weight loaded march with 24.5kg in 2 hours, 26 minutes (Army Fitness Standard)(minimum 10-minute break).
- Casualty evacuation of similar size soldiers to 100 meters distance in under 60 seconds.
All candidates who successfully pass those categories undergo a final review by a Base personnel officer and may be recommended for further training or may not. Selected candidates will spend several arduous months shaping physical and mental exercises, focusing on combat skills and survival methods.
Their motto on Latin is Audeamus which stands for We Dare.
The small number who pass receive the CSOR’s tan beret and are assigned, based on their category, to either of the three Direct Action companies, Special Forces company, or Support Company. The eventual size of Canada’s Special Operation Regiment is secret, but some estimation is around 800 personnel. One unique fact is that applicants need not have been in combat occupations before becoming members but could come from areas such as cooks, drivers, and clerks.
The CSOR regiment has maintained a presence in the southern province of Kandahar, Afghanistan, since 2006, in support of the Canadian and coalition forces. The CSOR also works with international partners and conducts joint training with other countries. They took part in training the Jamaican Defence Force counter-terrorism assault team and Belize’s special forces, the Belize Special Assignment Group.
Canada’s Special Operations Regiment members are true professionals and are currently among the best that the country can offer in the world’s war on terror.