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KSK - German Special Forces Command

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  • KSK - German Special Forces Command

    Due to neonazis and similar rightwing extremists basically taking over part of the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), the Minister of Defence is taking action - after three years of investigations. Detailing them here since in rather shortened format this is hitting international news slowly right now, probably not covering just how deep this goes.

    The measures are intended to primarily address internal issues of KSK discovered in the investigations, but also - following a discovery of ammunition stocked "at home" by a KSK soldier - missing ammunition (estimated to be at least around 80,000 rounds plus 62 kg of explosives) and the fact that MAD personnel involved in the investigations was slipping KSK personnel information on it. In addition the very recent investigation of extremist reservists plays into the package.

    Immediate Suspension:
    • KSK is ordered to "concentrate on the task of rebuilding itself", being given "a chance to regain trust".
    • All missions and training deployments of KSK are suspended indefinitely. Functions on active deployments, where possible, will be covered by other units.

    Formal Restructuring of KSK:
    • The 2nd company of the unit - the one affected - will be permanently dissolved.
    • The recently created SOCC company, stationed separately from KSK, will be detached from it and placed directly under command of the Rapid Forces Division.
    • All training functions will be removed from KSK and placed with the Infantry School, also switching Divisions (i.e. oversight) from the Rapid Forces Division to the Army Training Command.

    Internal Reorganization:
    • The battalions belonging to KSK (both combat and support) will get new posts for deputy battalion commanders, as well as increasing their staff with regard to sections 1, 2 and 4 (personnel, intelligence, logistics). An advisory board headed by the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr will oversee this process.
    • All leadership posts -officers, NCOs - within KSK will have a maximum on-post time before a soldier is moved to a different post. All soldiers newly posted to such posts are from now on required to have had experience in command and training of soldiers in units outside KSK.
    • All commando teams - non-leadership posts, and on a per-team basis - will be rotated between all companies of the unit, regularly switching them. All soldiers newly posted to such posts are from now on required to have served in other units outside KSK before.

    MAD - Military Counterintelligence Service:
    • The President of MAD will work out a package of internal measures, including obligatory implementation plan, and present it to the Minister by end of August. Measures shall address internal organizations, methods and lines of communication towards the Ministry of Defence and the German Parliament.
    • The President of MAD will investigate all personnel involved with the KSK investigations among his staff, as well as investigating all MAD personnel for contacts with KSK personnel. Announcement in this regard is pretty much that if you are not keeping professional distance to other Armed Forces members as a MAD officer you're not supposed to be in this post.

    Other Repercussions:
    • The commander of the Rapid Forces Division is ordered to perform a full inventory audit among his forces immediately. The Rapid Forces Division will introduce a digital system "correctly representing stocks of ammunition and equipment". A working group headed by the Inspector General of the Army will audit the use and disposition of ammunition from deployments, missions and training exercises in general - report to be presented early 2021.
    • The Ministry of Defence is planning to implement a new "Level 4" security check specifically for "particularly sensitive posts including in KSK" that shall involve "a more intensive wider check of personal environment" and "more frequent repeat checks".
    • The Ministry of Defence will also be introducing regular security checks for reservists. In addition it will examine together with the Ministry of the Interior how the present cooperation between Bundeswehr, reservist associations and the Federal Constitutional Protection Service (= domestic intelligence) can be expanded for the purpose of combatting extremist tendencies among reservists.

    The Minister of Defence will review by October 31st this year whether the reorganization of KSK is sufficiently implemented and fruitful with regard to the target of eradicating extremist tendencies, toxic leadership culture and separatist-elitarian commando culture within KSK. Should this not be the case a possible dissolution of the entire KSK is on the table.
    Last edited by kato; 01 Jul 20,, 20:53.

  • #2
    Due to the gravity of the problem and a look towards transparence on the issue the 55-page formal report on the investigations is not classified. The investigations were headed by the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and its process chaperoned by the Parliamentary Commissioner of the Armed Forces as well as members of the Parliamentary Defense Committee.

    Starting with part 1, as overview:

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    KSK is a brigade-level command which directly commands about 12 companies organized in four "departments" (from left: development, combat, support, training). Development is a minor department not quite integral to the brigade command that handles weapons procurement, development of procedures and training, cooperation with other forces and such. The SOCC company is semi-separate from the departments.

    • While the two main departments - combat and support - are battalion-level structures, they do not have a battalion-level staff but instead for staff purposes rely on the brigade-level command of KSK itself. This is addressed by giving these departments a partial battalion-level staff to address the most immediate issues (personnel, intelligence, logistics) with what will likely be a major in command of this staff. In addition this somewhat relieves the brigade commander from his direct oversight over such a wide command span.
    • The separate training department is considered not relevant to missions. To break up the development of extremist tendencies through internal training it is therefore moved out of KSK. Training may still take place at the KSK base in Calw, however under the auspices of the Army Training Command and the Infantry School with separate personnel. The department also includes recruiting for KSK, which will move to the Rapid Forces Division instead. The "selection board" - choosing whether to accept an application - will continue to consist of KSK personnel, but will from now on include the deputy commander of the Army Training Command as well as "other select personnel" from other parts of the Army.
    • The semi-separate SOCC company, in order to not be drawn into the KSK nimbus, is moved away from it. Its functionality does not have much to do directly with KSK, and is intended to provide a SOCC field HQ for multinational forces under NATO. The move is portrayed as "relieving KSK" by lowering its command span.

    The report explores a possible move of KSK from the Army to direct oversight of the MoD. This is rejected as it would break up the "special forces group" within the Army, which other than KSK also includes various "specialized forces" - within the Rapid Forces Division - assigned to support it.
    Last edited by kato; 01 Jul 20,, 21:28.


    • #3
      The 2nd Company:

      • During a farewell party for the former company commander soldiers were showing Hitler salutes and listening to music of right-wing extremist bands. A prostitute hired for the party exposed this publicly, based on which investigations both by MAD and by the State Constitutional Protection Service of the state of Thuringia were launched.
      • Investigations by MAD staked out a group of 30 soldiers within the company who are suspected of extremist tendencies. Further investigations are hampered by MAD facing a "wall of silence" within the company as well as a "personal cult" based on interpersonal relations between special forces soldiers having served together for years.
      • In May 2020, one of the soldiers of this group, based on investigations and a subsequent search of his residence, was found to have stockpiled a weapons depot including a full automatic Kalashnikov, several kg of explosives in pre-arranged blocks, several dozen fuzes, several thousand rounds of ammunition and several dozen other items such as tear gas grenades, flares, knives, air rifles and such. The findings prompted a higher-level investigation of the soldier, the group and KSK in general ordered by the Ministry of Defense.
      • The investigations board suggests the disbanding of the 2nd company as the only possible short-term solution to break up groups and interrelations formed within it.

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      The Commander of the Bundeswehr Deployment Command - responsible for all deployments of the Bundeswehr abroad, including KSK missions - will conduct a structural study of special forces both nationally (GSG9) and internationally. This is intended to possibly long-term restructure the Special Forces of the Bundeswehr in general to address such issues.
      Last edited by kato; 01 Jul 20,, 21:51.


      • #4
        Originally posted by kato View Post
        Due to neonazis and similar rightwing extremists basically taking over part of the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK)
        What in the ever lovin' f--k???
        “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
        ― Dwight D. Eisenhower


        • #5
          Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
          What in the ever lovin' f--k???
          MAD investigates about 500-600 soldiers per year on suspicion of extremist tendencies - and investigations by MAD are never started without some sort of evidence; most common for that init are xenophobic statements in social media. About 50 extremists per year are dismissed from service.

          About 60 soldiers per year fail background checks for "lack of loyalty to the constitution" that are performed on their behalf (and with their knowledge) in order to give them access to classified data of certain levels. That's 60 out of 50,000 though, including about 23,000 background checks of new recruits.

          Among reservists of the Bundeswehr about 300-350 per year are banned from doing active service for "grave doubts about loyalty to the constitution". Investigating in that field is only a relatively recent activity though, so that's somewhat likely to go down.

          Tendencies of this kind in the KSK have been pandered around for about 20 years. There's e.g. that episode from 2001 of patrol vehicles used by KSK members in preparation for Afghanistan (in a training camp in Oman) decorated with symbols of the Afrikakorps, where upon this becoming a bit public five years later (!) journalists turned up a supposed KSK soldier who claimed that "yeah, we've got some political die-hards like that in the unit" and that they had been doing the same thing at their homebase in Calw, Germany. Investigations led to six soldiers being dismissed back then, but for the most part the MoD managed to dodge the affair. Beneficial to this dodging was that the brigadier general in command of KSK in 2001 had already been dismissed in 2003 for supporting a politician making antisemitic speeches.

          Some cases show a very long continuity too : One soldier suspended from service this April is a staff sergeant - who was in KSK when the stuff in the paragraph above took place - who was previously accused of torturing a Turkish-German guy at Kandahar Air Base in 2002 (who ended up in Guantanamo Bay, until he was cleared of all accusations years later). He was formally cleared for "lack of evidence" and later became part of "Army Liaison Group 12" working out of Fort Bragg. Recent MAD investigation found he is following the Identitarian movement and has supported them with donations too.
          Last edited by kato; 02 Jul 20,, 00:47.


          • #6
            Originally posted by kato View Post
            • The Ministry of Defence will also be introducing regular security checks for reservists. In addition it will examine together with the Ministry of the Interior how the present cooperation between Bundeswehr, reservist associations and the Federal Constitutional Protection Service (= domestic intelligence) can be expanded for the purpose of combatting extremist tendencies among reservists.
            This mostly stems from the recent discovery - two weeks ago - of a group who were "preparing for a race war" in 2015. The armed group included several reservists planning to occupy a village in north Saxony on "Day X" and defend it militarily, and for this purpose actively tried to smuggle further members into the reservist organization for training. These reservists had posts within the Territorial State Command of neighboring Saxony-Anhalt. Most of the group members were part of a traditional fraternity in Saxony. There are some tenuous connections to Uniter, a paramilitary group founded by former KSK members.

            The President of the Reservist Association announced as a followup that all 115,000 members of his organization will be checked into, and that he is seeking to improve communications with intelligence services on the matter.


            • #7
              The head of the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD), Christof Gramm, is officially "retiring" - after the Minister of Defence visited his agency in person for a lengthy one-on-one talk today, and the Parliamentary Control Committee for intelligence services spent a two-day visit there yesterday and today.

              Opposition members on the Parliamentary Control Committee see the step as "inevitable" due to the "many slip-ups and odd procedures" in connection with the KSK case.

              Gramm is 62, and has been working for the Ministry of Defense in various civilian posts for 18 years, in the last 12 years in various functions of oversight/responsibility with regard to MAD. He was president of MAD since 2015.