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Special Actions Detachment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Special Actions Detachment
Destacamento de Ações Especiais
Portuguese Special Actions Detachment during NATO exercise Trident Juncture 15
Allegiance Portuguese Navy
TypeSpecial forces
RoleSpecial operations[a]
Part ofPortuguese Marine Corps
Garrison/HQLisbon Naval Base
Motto(s)Braço Às Armas Feito ("An arm to Arms addrest", from The Lusiads, Canto X, 155, v. 1)
EngagementsOperation Cruzeiro do Sul, Angola 1992
Operation Forrez, Zaire 1997
Operation Crocodilo, Guinea-Bissau 1998
Operation Forrec, D.R Congo 1998
Operation Tarrafo, Guinea-Bissau 1999
INTERFET, Timor-Leste 1999–2000
EUFOR, D.R. Congo 2006,
Somalia 2008
Operation Atalanta 2008–present
Afghanistan 2013
NATO Assurance Measures Lithuania 2019–present
Operation Irini 2021–present
Takuba Task Force 2021–2022

The Special Actions Detachment (Portuguese: Destacamento de Ações Especiais) or DAE is the tier one special force maritime unit of the Portuguese Navy. It is part of the Portuguese Marine Corps. Raised in 1985, the DAE is one of the smallest special forces units within the Portuguese Armed Forces. It is responsible for conducting air-sea rescue, amphibious reconnaissance, amphibious warfare, black operation, bomb disposal, CBRN defense, coastal raiding, counterterrorism, direct action, executive protection, hostage rescue, irregular warfare, ISTAR, long-range penetration, JTAC, manhunt high-value target, maritime sabotage, mountain rescue, naval boarding, operation behind high risk enemy lines, special operations, special reconnaissance, tracking targets, underwater demolition, unconventional warfare, other missions in support of Portuguese and NATO armed forces. DAE's mission and training are similar to American special forces and it often trains with them.[citation needed]



The unit is led by a commander, and is subdivided into a command cell and four combat teams. The command cell contains the unit commander, his deputy (a lieutenant commander) and a small staff of eight. The combat teams are composed of ten men: petty officers and seamen and a commanding petty officer.

Selection and training


DAE operatives are drawn from the ranks of marines, all having high operational experience. Due to the nature of its actions, candidate acceptance is extremely restrictive and selective. Only 5–10% of the applicants manage to join the unit.

Upon completion of the basic selection phase prospective recruits then begin the first phase of their training. Phase 1 of their training is conducted at the Navy's combat diver school. Students receive instruction in: basic combat diving techniques, EOD and underwater demolitions. Candidates who successfully complete the first phase are assigned to the DAE on a probationary status, and begin their second phase of training. Phase 2 instruction includes courses on: escape and evasion techniques, advanced driving, mountaineering, offensive operations, parachuting training and basic English. Once a trainee is permanently assigned to the DAE he will continue to receive various courses of instruction throughout his career.

After this tough selection, COEMAR starts, which lasts 18 weeks and is divided into three phases:

  • Technical (7 weeks)
  • Combat (3 weeks)
  • Tactics (8 weeks)

During and after COEMAR, DAE's military personnel receive training in areas as varied as:

  • Abandonment of aircraft in immersion
  • Air assault
  • Air-sea rescue
  • Amphibious reconnaissance
  • Amphibious warfare
  • Artillery observer
  • Clandestine operation
  • Close-quarters combat
  • Cold-weather warfare
  • Combat diving (closed circuit)
  • Coastal patrolling
  • Commando style raid tactics
  • Counter ambush
  • Counter maritime sabotage
  • Counter sniper
  • Counterterrorism
  • Covert operation
  • Defusing and disposal of bombs, land mines, and unexploded ordnance
  • Demolitions, mines and traps
  • Desert warfare
  • Driving tactical vehicles
  • Executive protection
  • Exfil
  • Fast combat shooting
  • Forward air control
  • Hand and Arm Signals
  • Hand-to-hand combat
  • Helocasting
  • Hostage rescue
  • IED disarmament
  • Inactivation of conventional explosive devices – land branch
  • Infiltrate the area with a helicopter
  • Intelligence collection
  • Irregular warfare
  • Jungle warfare
  • Living off the desert, jungle, mountain, and sea
  • Marksmanship
  • Medical evacuation
  • Military parachuting with automatic & manual opening (taken at the Parachute Regiment – Tancos)
  • Military intelligence
  • Mountain rescue
  • Mountain warfare
  • Naval boarding
  • NBCR on operations in contaminated environments
  • Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE)
  • Small unit tactics
  • Sniper (taught in Lamego at the Special Operations Troops Centre)
  • Surveillance and counter-surveillance of the battlefield
  • Special operations
  • Special reconnaissance
  • Tactical communications
  • Tactical emergency medical
  • Tactical use of motorbikes
  • Tracking tactics
  • Unconventional warfare
  • Underwater demolition
  • Urban warfare
  • Using fast attack craft
  • Using high military technology



DAE conducts regular training exercises with its NATO counterparts, including the United States Navy SEALs, Special Naval Warfare Force (FGNE), French Commandos Marine, JW GROM, Lithuanian Special Operations Force as well as the respective naval counter-terrorist units.

They were deployed to:



Infantry weapons




Submachine guns


Assault rifles


Sniper rifles


Grenade launchers







  1. ^ a b c d e "DAE, a secreta tropa de elite portuguesa". JN (in European Portuguese). 20 July 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  2. ^ "DAE, a secreta tropa de elite portuguesa". JN (in Portuguese). 20 July 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  3. ^ "Minister of Defence visits Portuguese Military in Lithuania". Portuguese Delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  4. ^ "Fuzileiros participam no maior exercício de Operações Especiais do Leste da Europa". Marinha (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  5. ^ ""A segurança dos nossos aliados é a nossa segurança"". www.portugal.gov.pt. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Portuguese Navy DAE combat diver, shot for Flashbang volume 10". Facebook.
  7. ^ "MP5A3 Portuguese Marines".
  8. ^ "Portuguese Marines in Lithuania". Facebook.