Training exercise BSB (Brigade Speciale Beveiligingsopdrachten)
By Andrew Balcombe
Dog interception of ‘lone wolf’
Bagdad scenario: VIP visit to an outdoor public reception
The recon vehicle preliminary team enters the location in an armored car equipped with the heaviest grade of protection. The team’s initial assessment detects no visible threats in the operational zone. Next comes a vehicle team of armored cars containing the principle, her close protection and back up team. They deploy for a meet and greet with the local dignitaries. After the meet and greet few minutes as the principle is leaving a single male approaches her aggressively. The close protection team takes defensive action. From the back-up armored car, a SWAT dog-team deploys and intercepts the ‘loner’. The VIP is withdrawn from the area and taken to a safe house.
Exercise phase 2: VIP ambush
The recon vehicle checks the area and gives the green light for the VIP vehicles to enter the zone. VIP car and back up car enters and are intercepted by a VBIED. There is an explosion and the VIP vehicle is disabled. Enemy fighters (tangos) open fire. Back up car moves into position and the VIP is extracted to the backup car. CPT provides cover fire, as the VIP is taken out of the danger zone and back to a safe house.
Hard arrest in Rotterdam
After police intelligence revealed that a dangerous and armed suspect was barricaded in a Rotterdam house, the BSB were deployed to solve the situation. Lt Colonel Hardenbol, the unit’s commanding officer at that time tells how the arrest team entered the building and was confronted with the suspect pointing a handgun at them. From behind protective ballistic shields the BSB operator ordered the suspect to drop the weapon and get down on the ground. The suspect ignored the commands, but also held his fire. After the suspect ignored more commands, the operator decided to stop the threat.
He shot the suspect twice in the arm with his Glock. The injuries prevented the suspect’s finger from pulling the trigger, but did not kill him. The BSB were then able to quickly overpower the man and arrested him. Another option for the operator would have been to kill the suspect, but this was a less than desirable option for the team according to Lt Col Hardenbol.
The BSB is a special unit of the Koninklijke Marechaussee and is loosely based on the structure of the German special federal police special unit GSG 9. The unit is located at a former airbase, behind multiple layers of ultra high security. It comprises of roughly 400 personnel consisting of four teams.
Protecting high value principles, such as embassy personnel in volatile environments, military-NATO staff and individuals at high risk. Often the BSB work with the Dienst Koninklijke en Diplomatiek Beveiliging, which is specifically tasked for protecting royals and diplomats.
Observation of suspects inside and outside the Netherlands. Reconnaissance of locations for future deployment and evaluating potential threats.
- Assisting local police in hi-risk operations and arrests
- Contributing to the Dienst Speciale Interventie (DSI) a unit formed under the umbrella of the Ministry of home affairs to tackle large-scale terrorist threats and incidences of violence. The DSI is also formed from units of the Unit Interventie Mariniers (UIM) a and police arrest teams
- Protecting witnesses and convicted criminals under threat
- Money transport protection for the Dutch Bank
- Customs service support
- Border protection (boarding ships, airport deployments and aircraft operations)
- Protecting sensitive buildings and important structures during periods of vulnerability or threat
- Covert operations that are mostly classified such as working for the Ministry of Justice, security services and the National Coordinator of Counter Terrorism (NCTb)
- Mentoring and instruction
One of the team leaders, sergeant Major (Ed): “ultra flexibility is a requirement of all BSB operators.” Operators are drawn from the Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMar), the Royal Military Police, also from the 11 Airmobile (Air Assault) Brigade, the Marines Unit Interventie Mariniers (UIM), a navy Counter Terrorism unit and the Korps Commandotroepen KCT (the army Special Forces). Regular police SWAT officers, observation teams or close protection teams of the Dutch police force can also apply to the unit. This provides the BSB with a good mix of specialties, for example if operating in urban, jungle, arid or maritime environments. Selection begins with an interview with a psychiatrist. If the candidate is suitable to go further, they enter a three-day training. The team members evaluate if the candidate will fit into the unit. If he is successful, the candidate will enter 25 weeks of training.
This training consists of:
- Vehicle and boat driving
- Observation techniques
- Martial arts Krav Maga (developed in Israel) based on boxing and street fighting and Systema fighting developed in Russia (hand to hand, grappling, using knives and firearms).
- OT and AOE
To be an effective operator in the BSB:
Individuals must be an expert in vehicle driving on land and water, weapons handling and fighting, but also be able to be invisible such as in a restaurant when guarding a VIP. Operators must be able to work and communicate with diplomats. They must recon countries in a state of anarchy and act without any backup to evaluate hospitals and other key locations.
Glock 26 and 17
Diemaco C7 & C8
40mm under slung grenade launcher