The 2nd Commando Regiment is a special forces unit of the Australian Army, and is part of Special Operations Command. The regiment was established on 19 June 2009 when the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was renamed. It is based at Holsworthy, New South Wales. The 2nd Commando Regiment often trains and deploys with the Special Air Service Regiment, is highly regarded by coalition special operation forces abroad, and has been involved in operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, where it was used in a direct action warfighting role. It has also been involved in a number of domestic security operations including the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 G20 Leaders Summit.
The 2nd Commando Regiment is one of three combat-capable units within SOCOMD and operates in conjunction with other SOCOMD units, services and interagency organisations in joint and combined operations. The role of the regiment is to conduct large scale offensive, support and recovery operations beyond the scope and capability of other Australian Defence Force (ADF) units. Army doctrine specifies that the role of commando units is to span the gap between conventional infantry operations and unconventional operations, focusing on advance force operations and direct action missions. Formed to complement the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR), the regiment is designed to be a “self-contained flexible and rapidly deployable force” and is structured for both special operations and domestic counter-terrorism. In its domestic counter-terrorism role it provides the Tactical Assault Group (East) to respond to high-risk incidents on the eastern coast of Australia beyond the capability of state/territory and federal Police Tactical Groups to respond to. The regiment maintains a high readiness element which encompasses the parachute company group role that the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) had maintained prior to being reroled as a light infantry battalion. In 2010, the then-Chief of Army stated that as part of the future amphibious ready group based on the Navy’s new Canberra-class it will be necessary to rotate a Commando Company to support the infantry battalion.
The 1st Commando Regiment is an Australian Army Reserve special forces unit part of Special Operations Command with an integrated structure of regular soldiers and reserve soldiers, which together with the full-time Australian Army 2nd Commando Regiment, provides the Commando capability to Special Operations Command. Raised in 1955 it is the oldest unit within Special Operations Command and in 2008 deployed to Afghanistan to become the first Australian Army Reserve force element on combat operations since World War II.
The primary role of 1st Commando Regiment is to provide a scalable and deployable mission command headquarters to the Special Operations Command. In addition, the Regiment is manned, trained and equipped to provide commando force elements up to a company size, as well as providing high quality, competent individual commandos to round out, reinforce and rotate with other SOCOMD capabilities.
The Regiment provides Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) with three key outputs: a scalable and deployable Command Control Communication and Intelligence node, known as the Joint Special Operations Task Force – Light; Round-out, Reinforcement and Rotation for SOCOMD; and a contingency response, based upon the collective Commando and specialist capabilities organic to the 1st Commando Regiment.
Over the past decade, combat operations and the evolution of the commando role has changed the character of the 1 Cdo Regt. Changes were introduced to reserve training following combat operations, to align training standards with the full-time 2nd Commando Regiment (2 Cdo Regt), and to provide a higher level of readiness for the Regiment, however, this affected recruitment due to the long full-time commitment and is now optional.