Special Forces Command (SFC)
The outsized Special Forces guard the presidency, state guests and other Very Very Important Persons (VVIPs) as well key strategic national installations, including the oil fields. The SFC mission is ‘To develop and operate a powerful and versatile special operations force that is situated within the unique Ugandan way of war and is responsive to the requirements of the UPDF and the nation’. The Special Forces Command (SFC) is a specialized component of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) tasked with carrying out specialized missions or operations at a moment’s notice. The SFC while conducting its operations coordinates closely with the two main arms or services of the UPDF, that is, the Land Forces and the Air Forces. The SFC main headquarters are found in Entebbe, Wakiso District, but also has sub-units stationed in different parts of the country. SFC units working alongside the regular UPDF are also active in theatres of operations, such as South-Sudan and the Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba was on 16 May 2016 promoted from Brigadier to Major General to keep him in the right rank to command the Special Forces that is to be expanded into an autonomous Service Force within the UPDF. The expansion meant SFC troop numbers, budget and equipment will increase to match the levels of the Land and Airforces, the existing two services created following a 2005 defence review. The review did not recommend establishment of SFC. Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the Defence and Military spokesman, said: "To command a Service Force, one must not be below the rank of Major General and he [Kainerugaba] has done all the requisite training. He also has command experience."
The Uganda Special Forces boasts one of the most battle-hardened commando units in the region courtesy of its experience in deadly battles in Northern Uganda, Somalia, DRC and Rwanda. It’s common knowledge within the UPDF that it is the Special Forces that planned and executed the Somalia mission that has stabilized the country after decades of instability. The majority of the combatants who fought in the Somalia war, which many consider as the most challenging to UPDF, would later form part of the nucleus of the commando unit. Other commandos were drawn from experienced UPDF teams that fought and defeated LRA leader Joseph Kony and the Karamoja wrestlers.
The Special Forces Command (SFC) is a specialized component of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) tasked with carrying out specialized missions or operations at a moment’s notice. The SFC while conducting its operations coordinates closely with the two main arms or services of the UPDF, that is, the Land Forces and the Air Forces.
The SFC main headquarters are found in Entebbe, Wakiso District, but also has sub-units stationed in different parts of the country. SFC units working alongside the regular UPDF are also active in theatres of operations, such as South-Sudan and the Peace Keeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The SFC mission is ‘To develop and operate a powerful and versatile special operations force that is situated within the unique Ugandan way of war and is responsive to the requirements of the UPDF and the nation’.
Special operations are defined as operations conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/ or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These operations often require covert, clandestine, or low visibility capabilities.
Modern Special Forces trace their origins to the Second World War. By 1939 the Germans had a number of Special Forces units under the Abwehr (German Military Intelligence). Later on in the war, a unit of the Waffen SS commanded by Otto Skorzeny conducted many special operations. British commandos were formed following Winston Churchill’s call for specially trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast. These commandos were selected from volunteers among existing infantry units and went on to generate a number of specialist units including the Long Range Desert Group, the Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Boat Service (SBS).
From independence in 1962 to 1986, the history of the various manifestations of the Uganda Army had different Special Forces units. They earned a notorious reputation for brutality and viciousness against the population.
What were called ‘Special Forces’ were usually paramilitary forces that were formed for political reasons. These so called ‘Special Forces’ were consequently behind some of the most heinous crimes and extra-judicial killings ever witnessed by the nation. Some estimates put the total number of Ugandans killed in that period of serious political instability at eight hundred thousand. At that time Uganda was a perennial basket case and ranked very highly in the nations of the earth that had the unflattering distinction of being failed states.
Uganda’s history was written in blood for a quarter of a century, there was widespread insecurity and severe repression at the hands of the dictatorships. This suffering was finally put to an end when the guerrillas of the National Resistance Army (NRA) led by Yoweri Museveni captured political power in 1986. The NRA became the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) after the promulgation of the new constitution in 1995.
In February 2015 the UPDF Commander of the Land Forces, Maj. Gen. David Muhoozi, paid tribute to the Army’s Special Forces component, describing it as a game-changer in the country’s military operations. “The SFC has had such an illustrious journey – from a small force in the bush, to a competent, tactically proficient and multitasking force. The army leadership is very happy to have the Special Forces option on the table,” said Maj. Gen. Muhoozi.
The Commander of the Special Forces Command (CSFC) of the UPDF, a Brigadier, is responsible for the command, control and administration of UPDF Special Forces, he reports directly to the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
The Command Sergeant Major is responsible for enforcing the discipline of troops in the Special Forces, ensure hygiene and sanitation, and implement orders and guidelines as laid down by the Commander of the Special Forces (CSFC), Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. The Command Sergeant Major is the most senior enlisted man (or other rank) within Special Forces.
The Special Forces Creed is "I am a Ugandan Special Forces Soldier, Prepared to do all that my country requires of me. As a patriot, I will always advocate, teach and promote revolutionary methods of work at whatever level of responsibility. I accept that there is no substitute for loyalty and professionalism within Special Forces. I will maintain alertness and strength in order to be able to fight for Ugandan Independence and Democracy. I will ensure that all the equipment under my charge is maintained well and is combat ready. In battle, I shall never surrender and will always strive never to let my comrades down. I shall resist any tendency that may injure the cohesion of Special Forces. I pray Almighty God will give me the strength to remain loyal, obedient, selfless and disciplined."
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