This article is organised as follows:

  • Part 01: Background to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Special Operations Group (AFP-JSOG).
  • Part 02: Organisation of the AFP-JSOG.
  • Part 03: Miscellaneous.

PART ONE: BACKGROUND

1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG), a unit within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

JSOG is assigned to the AFP counter-terrorism (CT) force (Lastimado & Rojas, 2004).

The Joint Special Operations Group is known by a number of nicknames including: JSOG; SOG; AFP-JSOG; and Spec Ops Group.

The group is one of several units that form part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Special Operations Command (AFPSOCOM).

Part One of this article looks at women and the JSOG, then discusses the difference between tier 1 and tier 2 forces and highlights the methods of entry. It then outlines the roles and tasks of the JSOG before finally providing a brief history on its origins. Part Two looks at the organisation of the JSOG, before moving on to outline the various SOF units. Finally, Part Three provides some useful links and identifies other articles the reader may find useful.

1.1 Aim

The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the Philippines Joint Special Operations Group.

1.2 Women and the JOSG

Unsure if women can join.

1.3 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Special Forces

The JSOG is sometimes referred to as ‘Tier 1’ SF units because they are the units usually tasked with direct action. Other special operations forces are referred to as ‘Tier 2’ units as they, usually, fulfil a supporting role for the Tier 1 units.

1.4 Method of Entry

Civilians cannot join the JSOG directly, one must join the AFP first and then apply.

1.5 Roles and Tasks

The role of the Joint Special Operations Group includes a number of specialist tasks, for example (Lastimado & Rojas, 2004):

  • Direct action (DA) against terrorists;
  • Special reconnaissance of terrorist targets;
  • Military operations in urbanised terrain (MOUT);
  • Support anti-organised crime campaign efforts of the Philippines National Police (PNP);
  • Airborne operations;
  • Unconventional warfare; and
  • Target interdiction.

Its primary, and original, task is to conduct special military operations to counter terrorist activity throughout the Philippines.

1.6 Brief History

Key dates include (Soliven, 2017):

  • 2001:
    • In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States (US), the US military began a more active programme of assistance to Philippine security forces for the purposes of conduct anti-terrorism missions there.
    • The US deployed various units to the Philippines as part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines, including Task Force 510 from US Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC).
  • 2002:
    • Task Force 510 deployed to the Philippines in 2002 and immediately began working to assist the Republic of the Philippines in their campaigns against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah groups, both linked to Al Qaeda.
    • A product of this cooperation was the proposal, between 2002 and 2003, of a joint service special warfare unit known as the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG) which would be the AFP’s anti-terrorism strike force.
    • The unit was to include:
    • US personnel were active in the training of the unit’s various component parts.
  • 2003:
    • On 07 August 2003, JOSG is officially established at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, at the AFP General HQ.
  • 2004:

Notable campaigns include:

  • 2013 Zamboanga Siege.
  • 2017 Marawi Siege.
  • Operation Tsunami 1.
  • Operation Tsunami 2.
  • Operation Haribon 1.
  • Operation Haribon 2.
  • Operation Haribon 3.

PART TWO: ORGANISATION OF THE JSOG

2.0 Introduction

This part of the article outlines the organisation of the JSOG, including its commander and the various units and sub-units within it.

2.1 Commander JSOG

The Joint Special Operations Group is led by a Brigadier General (OF-6), based at the headquarters (HQ) in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, at the AFP General HQ.

The unit has previously been led by a Colonel (OF-5) (Wakefield, 2017).

2.2 Units of the JSOG

In 2004, Lastimado & Rojas (2004, p.26) state the JSOG had approximately 400 personnel and was organised as follows:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
  • The Light Reaction Regiment (Philippine Army SOF).
  • SEAL Team Company 8 of the Naval Special Warfare Group (Philippine Navy SOF).
  • 723rd Special Operations Squadron of the 710th Special Operations Wing (Philippine Air Force SOF).
  • A Special Operations Tactical Helicopter Flight.
  • A Special Operations Tactical Airlift Flight.
  • Three K-9 teams.
  • Three Explosive Ordnance and Disposal (EOD) teams.

As I understand it, the JSOG (as of September 2019) has approximately 400 personnel and is organised as follows (Mindanao Examiner, 2018):

  • Administrative Control (ADCON):
    • Headquarters & Headquarters Company.
    • Group Service Company.
    • Joint Special Operations Unit 1.
    • Joint Special Operations Unit 2.
    • Joint Special Operations Unit 3.
    • Joint Readiness Training Department.
    • Technical Aerial Reconnaissance Unit.
  • Operational Control (OPCON):

2.3 JSOG Training School

JSOG does not have its own training school as personnel undertake their initial SOF qualification courses with their parent units.

JSOG sources its personnel from other SOF units.

PART THREE: MISCELLANEOUS

3.0 Useful Publications

  • Lastimado, A.R. & Rojas, A.G. (2004) The Armed Force of the Philippines and Special Operations. Master’s Thesis. Naval Postgraduate School. Available from World Wide Web: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a429856.pdf. [Accessed: 21 August, 2019].
  • Headquarters Philippine Army Letter Directive dated February 24, 2004, Subject: Rightsizing of SOCOM.
  • PAM 3-071: Philippine Special Forces Operations Manual.
  • AFP Table of Organisation and Equipment Number G31-3. 27 January 2004.
  • General Orders Nr 959. GHQ AFP dated 13 August 2003.
  • AFP-Joint Special Operations Handbook. AFP Doctrine Centre.

3.1 Useful Links

  • a

3.2 References

Lastimado, A.R. & Rojas, A.G. (2004) The Armed Force of the Philippines and Special Operations. Master’s Thesis. Naval Postgraduate School. Available from World Wide Web: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a429856.pdf. [Accessed: 21 August, 2019].

Wakefield, F. (2017) Remaining Area Controlled by Maute Group could be Retaken before Oct. 15 – Galvez. Available from World Wide Web: https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/10/10/remaining-area-controlled-by-maute-group-could-be-retaken-before-oct-15-galvez/. [Accessed: 11 September, 2019].

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