Army's only OCONUS Special Operations Training Center celebrates 30 years

Wednesday August 19, 2009

What is it?

On June 25, 2009, the International Special Training Center (ISTC) in Pfullendorf, Germany, celebrated its 30-year anniversary. The ISTC provides centralized advanced training for Special Forces and similar units, and was established in 1974 when a European and NATO Army Sub-Group Conference suggested the centralization of training for Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol units and Special Operation Forces in a joint training facility in Europe.

With an ability to blend tactics, techniques and procedures of not only multiple units, but also between multiple countries, the ISTC has created a common frame of reference among the nine NATO nations' corps of officers and non-commissioned officers, resulting in improved training and interoperability of multinational troops during contingency operations and security missions, such as Operation Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

What has the Joint Multinational Training Command (JMTC) done?

The ISTC trains the special forces of Germany, Belgium, Greece, the United States, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Turkey. The nine NATO nations work together to ensure daily operation of the center by memorandum of understanding, and to ensure training in advanced individual patrolling, medical close quarter battle, sniper and survival training. In all, about 14 courses are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the country and the mission of its troops.

Since 1979, about 35,000 Soldiers have completed residential and mobile training courses through the ISTC.

Why is this event important to the Army?

The Soldiers learn in a multi-national environment the skills they use for joint urban conflict and peace support operations, alongside the Soldiers they may meet downrange.

The role of ISTC throughout the Cold War was focused on Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol units executing patrols and recognition mission profiles deep behind enemy lines. As the Cold War era passed, the ISTC changed based on new mission requirements. Mission profiles changed from surveillance and reconnaissance to more foreign internal defense, peace support operations, strategic reconnaissance and direct action missions.

Due to the exponential changes in the adversary's irregular warfare environment, ISTC had to adapt to the ever-changing combined operational environment to meet the challenges and training needs of the nine NATO nations. With the establishment of the NATO Special Operations Coordination Center (NSCC), the ISTC is the only combined, international training center with NATO, which trains individual and tactical skills.


ISTC Web site

HQJMTC Web site

NATO Web site





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