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Special Actions Detachment
Destacamento de Ações Especiais
Portuguese Naval Special Forces, Portugal, NATO Trident Juncture 15 (22551475570).jpg
Operators of the Special Actions Detachment
Active 1985 – present
Country  Portugal
Allegiance  Portugal Navy
Type Special Forces
Role Counter terrorism, direct action, unconventional warfare, combat search and rescue, special reconnaissance, covert operations
Size 60
Part of Portuguese Marine Corps
Garrison/HQ Lisbon Naval Base
Nickname(s) DAE
Motto(s) Braço Às Armas Feito ("An arm to Arms addrest", from The Lusiads, Canto X, 155, v. 1)
Engagements Operation 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

The Special Actions Detachment (Portuguese language: Destacamento de Ações Especiais ) or DAE is the special operations 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 special operations, beach reconnaissance, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), maritime counter-terrorism, demolition operations, and other missions in support of Portuguese and NATO armed forces. DAE is very similiar to the American DEVGRU and Delta Force and the British Special Boat Service and as a result, trains with them often.


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 8. 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.


DAE conducts regular training exercises with its NATO counterparts, including the United States Navy DEVGRU, British Special Boat Service, French Commandos Marine as well as the respective naval counter-terrorist units. They were deployed to Angola in 1992, to Zaire in 1997, to Guinea-Bissau in 1998, to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 (as part of the EUFOR) and to Somalia in 2009.

External links

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