HCW RR RenditionH3 Monitor(Cropped)SC2 Achievement Medal of Combat (28px)Bent Sinister 28pxGalactic Era New Icon

40px-Terminal.png This article, UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit, was written by RelentlessRecusant and Actene. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.

NSCU RelentlessRecusant
UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit
(SPARTAN-III Gamma Company)

UNSC Defense Force


UNSC Special Operations Command


Special operations force

  • High-value target operations
  • Advance force operations
  • Low-visibility operations
  • Contingency strike operations

Company-size formation

Part of

UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command


Asphodel Meadows Naval Special Warfare Center


"Ready to strike!" (unofficial)[1]

Notable commanders

Commander SPARTAN-G071,
Commanding Officer (2552 — Present)

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, it's tempting to treat every problem like it's a nail. The days of subtlety and economy of force are finished. The SPARTAN-IIIs are the physical manifestation of the aphorism 'we have big bombs, little bombs, and guns of all sizes for any problem'."
―Captain Kawika Son, UNSC Naval Special Warfare Group Six[src]

The SPARTAN-III Gamma Company, formally known as the Naval Special Commando Unit (NSCU) in the classified literature, is a UNSC special operations force capable of prosecuting advance force operations, high-value target operations, covert action, and deep strike operations. It is the premier UNSC counterterrorism and unconventional warfare unit, and as a special mission unit of the UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command, it is employed as a highly mobile contingency strike force capable of preparing an overt or covert response to emerging crises that effect the galactic security of the UNSC.

Initially activated and qualified as special operations capable in 2552 during the final months of the Human-Covenant War, the Naval Special Commando Unit has been responsible for the conduction of pivotal UNSC military and paramilitary operations, such as Operation Steadfast and Operation Magic Success, which have averted significant UNSC security threats. Nevertheless, the unit has drawn much criticism, as it is notable for being host to the only two SPARTANs that have defected to the enemy in the history of the SPARTAN Program — SPARTAN-G294 and SPARTAN-G299. Furthermore, the Naval Special Commando Unit is presently deployed as part of Joint Special Operations Task Force 452, but nevertheless, it has repeatedly failed in effectively suppressing the "Patriots", a terrorist organization active in the Outer Rim.

Despite the generally successful nature of the Naval Special Commando Unit and its operations, it is presently planned to be replaced in 2570 by the 1st Marine Expeditionary Reconnaissance Company — the next evolution of the SPARTAN Program — as the premier UNSC counterterrorism force. Nevertheless, the Naval Special Commando Unit remains operationally ready, and it served as one of the frontline Special Forces units employed during Operation Condor in 2572; the UNSC invasion of Covenant space.


Organizational description

UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit ORBAT

Order of Battle, UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit as per the Electric Skill reorganization (2553).

The Naval Special Commando Unit is a special missions unit of the UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command, the component command of the UNSC Special Operations Command responsible for conduction of highly classified counterterrorism operations and clandestine operations. Originally activated by Colonel James Ackerson of the Office of Naval Intelligence, control of Gamma Company was ceded from the ONI Directorate of Strategic Intelligence to the Advanced Special Operations Command several months after the end of the Human-Covenant War; this reorganization, codenamed “Lightning Skill”, was based on the advice of Captain Kawika I. Son, who was serving as Special Advisor on Counterterrorism to the Directorate of Strategic Intelligence. After its formal transfer to the Special Forces chain of command, the internal structure of the Gamma Company was reorganized as per the “Lightning Skill” order of battle.

The Naval Special Commando Unit and its 160 operators are subdivided into one Headquarters Detachment and three Commando Troops that serve as its principal field maneuver units; two of these Troops are qualified for autonomous direct action (1st and 2nd Commando Troops) whereas one of these Troops principally serves in a support capacity (3rd Commando Troop).

As of the Post-War Era due to massive losses incurred during the final combat operations of the Human-Covenant War, the 330-man Gamma Company is presently at half-strength, with 160 operators remaining, which have been reformed to the “Lightning Skill” organization.

Headquarters Detachment

SPARTAN-G071 Esther

Commander SPARTAN-G071, Commanding Officer, UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit.

The Headquarters Detachment serves as the highest command and control element organic to the NSCU, and exercises tactical command over the Company. Composed of ten SPARTAN-III operators, it consists of the Commanding Officer and her staff officers and specialists that support her. The Headquarters Detachment is not organized nor equipped to participate in frontline combat; instead, it serves to exercise off-site command and control over various NSCU field elements. The principal function of the Headquarters Detachment is in mission planning and target selection; informed by all-source intelligence, Headquarters identifies high-payoff targets and plans operations in order to destroy or incapacitate these high-payoff targets. Selection of high-payoff targets is informed by intelligence collected by reconnaissance assets organic to the Company or intelligence imparted by the Office of Naval Intelligence or other UNSC units. Additionally, the Headquarters Detachment is the agency directly in contact with higher headquarters (the UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command), and receives operational orders and strategic objectives from higher headquarters; it is also the point of contact to inform higher headquarters and adjacent units about NSCU field activities.

The Headquarters Detachment consists of the Commanding Officer (Commander), the Deputy Commanding Officer (Lieutenant Commander), the Senior Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (Master Chief Petty Officer), Operations Officer (Lieutenant Commander), Fire Support Officer (Lieutenant), Operations Chief (Senior Chief Petty Officer), Deployment Chief (Chief Warrant Officer), Company Technician (Chief Warrant Officer), and two signals specialists, amounting to ten operators. It may also be augmented by various liaison teams from Naval Intelligence, other Special Forces units, or general purpose forces in order to coordinate NSCU operations with such agencies.

In standard operating procedure, the Headquarters Detachment is meant to be subdivided into at least two independent and autonomous, self-reliant sections: the Primary Command Group and the Secondary Command Group. The Primary Command Group is composed of six personnel: the CO, SNOIC, S3, Operations Chief, Company Technician, and a signaler; the Secondary Command Group is composed of four personnel: the DCO, FSO, Deployment Chief, and a signaler. Each independent Command Group is organized to operate autonomously; each of the two Command Groups is designed to be located on a separate planet and to direct and oversee NSCU operations on that planet, allowing for the NSCU to sustain major operations on at least two planets, with minor NSCU detachments operating semi-autonomously on other planets. As such, each Command Group is organized to be able to establish an austere Tactical Operations Center (TOC) on the target planet, removed from the frontlines, and which directs NSCU detachments on the same planet in other geographical regions. As such, each Command Group is augmented with various long-range communications capabilities, such as redundant SATCOM relays, which enable it to exercise command of distant units and to communicate with distant higher headquarters.

The NSCU TOC established by each Command Group may be in an austere location (such as an Advanced Operating Base [AOB] or Forward Operating Base [FOB]), or else co-located with the command posts of other Special Forces units at a centralized location, such as at a Main Operating Base (MOB) or aboard an orbiting Navy warship or Naval Intelligence prowler.

Commando Troop/Direct Action (1st and 2nd Troops)

Of the three Commando Troops fielded by the NSCU, two are designated “Direct Action”—1st and 2nd Commando Troops. Each Troop is composed of forty-six SPARTAN-III operators, which are subdivided into four Detachments: a Command Detachment and three Direct Action Detachments. The Commando Troop is the largest maneuver force of the NSCU, and is typically allocated to an entire planet or else a major continental theater of operations. It is organized to conduct covert action, special operations, or special light infantry operations. Both 1st and 2nd Commando Troops are identical in organization.

Command Detachment
Halo Reach SPARTAN-G006 Cassandra

Petty Officer 2nd Class SPARTAN-G006, Medical Specialist, Command Detachment, 2nd Commando Troop.

The Command Detachment of each Commando Troop exercises command and control over the Troop at the operational level. It is responsible for receiving tactical directives or operational orders from the NSCU Headquarters Detachment; upon receipt of a tactical directive or operational order for its area of responsibility, it is responsible for defining a detailed operational order for its subordinate Direct Action Detachments to prosecute the operation. Given the standard practice of Special Forces that the element in the field has considerable operational authority, the Command Detachment often is allotted broad liberty in how it dictates deployment and commitment of the Troop’s elements to execute the operation at hand.

However, the Command Detachment is not simply a C2 element as is the Headquarters Detachment: only three of its ten SPARTAN-III personnel are allotted to the C2 role, and the remainder of the seven personnel are indeed specialists which are used to augment the Direct Action Detachments as necessary. Thus, the Command Detachment of each Troop serves both as a command element and as a ready reserve of support personnel. Attachment of the support troops to the Direct Action Detachments is dictated by the command personnel within the Command Detachment.

Each Command Detachment consists of the Troop Commander/Officer Commanding (Lieutenant Commander), Troop Chief (Senior Chief Petty Officer), a signals specialist, two anti-armor specialists, two demolitions specialists, an EOD specialist, a medical specialist, and the Troop Technician. The Command Detachment establishes a light command post within the Troop’s area of operations, from which it oversees Troop activities in the area of responsibility; the Command Detachment is capable of establishment of an austere Advance Operating Base in order to temporarily house the Troop and which serves as a base of operations. The Troop Commander and the Troop Chief are responsible for receipt of tactical directives from the Headquarters Detachment; the signals specialist attached to the Command Detachment provides long-range communications capability (i.e. SATCOM) for the Command Detachment from the AOB or FOB within the Area of Responsibility back to the Headquarters Detachment, which is typically located elsewhere on the planet. The remainder of the personnel within the Command Detachment exist to augment the Direct Action Detachments on an as-needed basis; for example, the two anti-armor specialists are allocated to Detachment(s) engaged in operations where there is a significant enemy armor or low-altitude aircraft threat, and the demolition specialists are allocated to Detachment(s) that are on strike operations to destroy high-payoff targets, such as command centers or transportation avenues.

Direct Action Detachment
SPARTAN-G293 Jake on Ivory Tower

Petty Officer 1st Class SPARTAN-G293, Leading Petty Officer, Team Jian, 1st Direct Action Detachment, 2nd Commando Troop.

The twelve-man Direct Action Detachment is the smallest NSCU maneuver element within the field; it is the unit of action that conducts NSCU field operations. Amongst its repertoire of operational capabilities, is capable of conducting direct action, special reconnaissance, specialized counterterrorism, and covert action. It receives detailed operational orders from the Troop Command Detachment and prosecutes them in the field; any necessary SPARTAN-III or Special Forces augmentations are attached to the Detachment to fulfill specialized functions as necessary.

It is organized into three four-man teams: “Alpha”, “Bravo”, and “Charlie”. Its “Alpha” Team contains the Detachment Commander/Officer in Charge (Lieutenant), the Detachment Chief (Chief Petty Officer), and two designated sharpshooters (snipers). The “Bravo” and “Charlie” Teams are identical in composition, and consist of a Leading Petty Officer/Team Leader (Petty Officer 1st Class) and three operators (Petty Officer 2nd Class).

Detachment is a highly versatile operating element, as the extensive cross-training of its SPARTAN-III operators allow them to be equipped with a repertoire of unconventional, specialized, or Covenant weapons as needed. The default configuration of the Detachment, with two snipers and two machine gunners (with one operator within both “Bravo” and “Charlie” assigned as a machine gunner), allows it to engage at extreme range (snipers) and to provide effective suppression (machine gunners). Nevertheless, this configuration is modifiable as necessary; most SPARTAN-IIIs are qualified on conventional sniper rifle systems, and thus, additional personnel can be tasked as sniper-spotters to augment the two snipers already extant in the Detachment. (Additional information in Section 3, “Equipment and Weaponry”)

Commando Troop/Support (3rd Troop)

SPARTAN-G302 Chelsea

Lieutenant SPARTAN-G302 "Chelsea", Detachment Commander/Officer-in-Charge, Reconnaissance Detachment, 3rd Commando Troop.

Of the three Commando Troops fielded by the NSCU, one is designated “Support”—the 3rd Commando Troop; it is composed of thirty-nine SPARTAN-III operators, which are subdivided into four Detachments: a Command Detachment, a Reconnaissance Detachment, an Anti-Armor Detachment, and a Demolitions Detachment. While 1st and 2nd Commando Troops are specifically organized and equipped to conduct direct action and special reconnaissance, 3rd Commando Troop contains specialist teams that fulfill specific operational roles within the NSCU. The specialist units from 3rd Commando Troop are attached to 1st and 2nd Troops on a habitual or on an as-needed basis.

Command Detachment

The Command Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop is similar in function to the Command Detachments of 1st and 2nd Troops, and it consists of four personnel: the Troop Commander/Officer Commanding (Lieutenant Commander), the Troop Chief (Senior Chief Petty Officer), the Troop Technician (Chief Warrant Officer), and a signals specialist. The support specialists attached to the Command Detachments of 1st and 2nd Troops are not attached to the Command Detachment of 3rd Troop, as they would be redundant with the specialist detachments organic to 3rd Troop.

Reconnaissance Detachment

The Reconnaissance Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop is the specialized tactical reconnaissance element of the NSCU. While all SPARTAN-III personnel are trained in special reconnaissance, which is further augmented by the active camouflage-like technical capability of the SPI armor, there is a specialized NSCU element specifically trained, equipped, and organized for conduction of time-sensitive reconnaissance of high-priority targets. While the Direct Action Detachments of 1st and 2nd Troops typically conduct any reconnaissance necessary to preface standard Troop operations, the Reconnaissance Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop can be tasked by the NSCU Headquarters Detachment, 3rd Troop’s Command Detachment, or higher headquarters for reconnoitering of sensitive targets of particular interest that are deemed unsuitable for reconnaissance by standard SPARTAN-III operators. In a secondary capacity, the Reconnaissance Detachment also serves as a dedicated sniper unit that can be tasked for HVT operations as necessary by the CO, DCO, or for ONI special activities or paramilitary operations. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are two designated sharpshooters allotted to each Direct Action Detachment within 1st and 2nd Commando Troops, affording them a potent sniper capability at the section level.

The 16-man Reconnaissance Detachment is comprised of a Detachment Commander/Officer in Charge (Lieutenant), Assistant Officer in Charge (Lieutenant Jr. Grade), a Detachment Chief (Chief Petty Officer), Electronic Reconnaissance Specialist (Warrant Officer), and six sniper-spotter pairs.

All Reconnaissance Detachment are specially trained as designated sharpshooters; although many SPARTAN-III operators are marksman-qualified on most UNSC sniper rifle weapons systems, the specialists of the Reconnaissance Detachment are trained to extraordinary standards, and are arguably the most proficient sharpshooters organic to the Company, with extraordinary precision with most sniper rifle weapons system, and additionally proficient with paramilitary or Covenant sniper rifle weapons systems (in the eventuality that they partake in covert action and must resort to non-incriminating weapons). This level of accuracy has imparted the Reconnaissance Detachment with an elitist air within the already narcissistically self-obsessed Gamma Company.

Standard armament for Reconnaissance Detachment personnel is the SRS99 or AS DAM series of anti-materiél sniper rifles. By virtue of their reconnaissance mission, all personnel are required to carry long-range signal equipment (i.e. SATCOM) for communication with distant headquarters as well as Hardened Uplink Modules (HUL) for relay of helmet footage. During long-range patrols, reconnaissance specialists may employ motorcycles or modified M274 “Mongoose” ULATVs; armed patrols may be conducted with modified M12 “Warthog” Light Strike Vehicles.

By virtue of their black reconnaissance and assassination operations, which are often independent in nature, the ancestry of the Reconnaissance Detachment can be traced to the “Headhunters” subdivision of the Gamma Company prior to its reorganization under “Electric Skill”.

Anti-Armor Detachment

The Anti-Armor Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop provides the anti-armor and anti-low altitude aircraft capability organic to the NSCU. While two anti-armor specialists are attached to both 1st and 2nd Commando Troops, the Anti-Armor Detachment of 3rd Troop serves as the dedicated NSCU element that is deployed to either 1st or 2nd Troop if there is a likely enemy armor or aircraft threat in their areas of operations—such as during high-intensity theater warfare.

The 13-man Anti-Armor Detachment consists of a Detachment Commander/Officer in Charge (Lieutenant), Detachment Chief (Chief Petty Officer), signals specialist, and five 2-man anti-armor teams. All detachment personnel are extensively trained in the operation and employment of a repertoire of anti-armor weapons, including light anti-armor weapons (i.e. M41 “Jackhammer” rocket launcher), directed energy weapons (i.e. M6 “Spartan Laser”), man-portable air defense systems (LAU-65D/SGM-151 “Missile Pod”), and a variety of heavier ordnance. When the Anti-Armor Detachment or detachments thereof are attached to Direct Action Detachments, they afford these units with a potent anti-tank and anti-aircraft deterrent. Anti-Armor Detachment personnel may also be deployed aboard M12 “Warthog” Light Strike Vehicles to increase their tactical mobility and to allow for increased effectiveness against sluggish enemy armor; if appropriately equipped aboard “Warthog” LSVs, the Anti-Armor Detachment can operate in deep penetration raids. When either mounted or dismounted, NSCU operators of the Anti-Armor Detachment are typically minimally organized as pairs, as to afford overlapping fields of fire against enemy armor threats.

Due to the minimal serious heavy armor threat encountered in low-intensity conflicts, the Anti-Armor Detachment is rarely employed in its specialized role, and often instead is employed as a standard Direct Action Detachment.

Demolitions Detachment

The Demolitions Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop provides the NSCU with an organic capacity for the demolition of high-payoff targets, as well as explosive ordinance detection/disposal and chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance. Although two demolitions specialists and one EOD specialist are attached to both 1st and 2nd Commando Troops, the Demolitions Detachment of 3rd Troop is employed when such limited number of specialists is deemed insufficient for large-scale, multi-target operations, and is also specially employed for extremely high-payoff targets, such as enemy warships or orbital stations. During times of theater warfare or high probability of enemy employment of WMDs, it is also used for rapid multi-target CBRN reconnaissance to detect and defuse enemy WMDs.

The 12-man Demolitions Detachment is comprised of a Detachment Commander/Officer in Charge (Lieutenant), Detachment Chief (Chief Petty Officer), signals specialist, and nine demolitions/EOD specialists.

Personnel attachments

Non-SPARTAN personnel are assigned to augment the NSCU on an as-needed basis by the UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command or by the request of the CO, DCO, or various other command agencies within the NSCU. The most frequent of such attachments are likely personnel from the Forward Medical Platoon (Forced Entry) of the Corsair Regiment (Airborne), UNSC Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Given the extremely limited organic medical capability of the NSCU (two medical specialists; one in 1st Commando Troop and one in 2nd Commando Troop), external medical specialists are often attached to the NSCU in the event that friendly casualties arise. Though such personnel from the Forward Medical Platoon (Forced Entry) are Special Operations Qualified, the intense nature of frontline NSCU operations often precludes them from partaking in frontline operations; these non-power armored Special Forces medics are typically relegated to the AOB or FOB that houses the Commando Troop, and they stabilize and treat wounded SPARTAN-III operators after they have been evacuated from the frontlines.

The limited medical capabilities organic to the NSCU likely stem from the notion borne in the SPARTAN-III Gamma Company training on Onyx that medical specialization was pacifistic and unbefitting of the SPARTAN warrior ethos (i.e. SPARTAN-G006). Nevertheless, at least some NSCU operators have basic first-aid skills to stabilize wounded SPARTAN-IIIs until they can be airlifted to more expert medical personnel or until combat medicine or surgical teams can be inserted onto the frontlines.

Long-range signals specialists from the Forward Signals Platoon (Forced Entry), Joint Signals Battalion, UNSC Marine Expeditionary Brigade may be attached as necessary to provide additional long-range signals capabilities when NSCU command elements are subdivided sufficiently that there are no longer enough signals specialists organic to the Company to provide all NSCU officers with their necessary communications functions.

Besides these personnel from Special Operations Medical and Special Operations Signals, logistical elements from the UNSC Special Operations Command may also be employed to assist in the relocation of NSCU command posts and the establishment of AOBs or FOBs in austere environments.

Order of battle

Work in progress


Gamma Company/Naval Special Commando Unit

  • Command Detachment (Commander; ~10 operators)
    • 1st Commando Troop / Direct Action (Lieutenant Commander; ~50 operators)
      • Command Detachment (10 operators)
        • Direct Action Detachment (12 operators)
          • Alpha Team (4 operators; Lieutenant, CPO, and 2 snipers)
          • Bravo Team (4 operators; LPO and 3 PO2s )
          • Charlie Team (4 operators; LPO and 3 PO2s)
        • Direct Action Detachment
        • Direct Action Detachment
    • 2nd Commando Troop / Direct Action
    • 3rd Commando Troop / Special Troops (Lieutenant Commander)
      • Command Detachment (10 operators)
      • Reconnaissance Detachment
      • Demolitions Detachment
      • Anti-Armor Detachment

Detailed order of battle

Gamma Company/Naval Special Commando Unit (160 operators)

Headquarters Detachment
  • Headquarters Detachment: ~10 operators; commanded by a Commander
    • Company Commander (Commander/CO), “Sword Six” – exercises command and control over NSCU and participates in mission planning and target selection
    • Deputy Commanding Officer (Lieutenant Commander/DCO), “Sword Five” – nominally organizes the staff and headquarters location for the CO; but more often that not, operates apart from the CO such as to exercise command over Gamma Company at two locations
    • Senior Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (Master Chief Petty Officer/SNOIC) – serves as the “go to” man for the CO at her personal behest
    • Operations Officer (Lieutenant Commander/S3) – manages detailed planning of day-to-day operations as tasked by the CO’s orders
    • Fire Support Officer (Lieutenant/FSO) – arranges artillery, orbital, and air support
    • Operations Chief (Senior Chief Petty Officer)
    • Deployment Chief (Chief Warrant Officer) – specialist on deployment methods
    • Signals Specialist (Petty Officer) – attached to CO to offer comms ability
    • Signals Specialist (Petty Officer) – attached to DCO to offer comms ability
    • Company Technician (Chief Warrant Officer) – specialist on SPI armor and on usage of special mission equipment
Commando Troops (1st and 2nd Troops)
  • Commando Troop (1st Troop): ~50 operators; commanded by a Lt. Commander
    • Command Detachment: contains troop command-and-control functions while containing specialists
      • Troop Commander (Lieutenant Commander/OC ) – exercises command and control over the troop and executes orders as per the Gamma Company S3
      • Troop Chief (Senior Chief Petty Officer) – operational advisor and assistant to the OC
      • Signals Specialist – provides OC with long-range signals capability to higher headquarters (the CO’s or DCO’s on-planet site)
      • Medical Specialist – platoon-level forward medical specialist for troop casualties
      • Anti-Armor Specialist: against armor or low-altitude aircraft
      • Anti-Armor Specialist
      • Demolitions Specialist: destruction of high-payoff targets
      • Demolitions Specialist
      • EOD Specialist
      • Troop Technician (Warrant Officer): – the platoon-level specialist on SPI armor and on usage of special mission equipment; also serves as Quartermaster (QM)
    • Direct Action Detachment
    • Direct Action Detachment
    • Direct Action Detachment (12 men): 10 riflemen + 2 sniper troops
      • "Alpha" Team
        • Detachment Commander (Lieutenant)
        • Detachment Chief (Chief Petty Officer)
        • Detachment Sniper (Petty Officer)
        • Detachment Sniper (Petty Officer)
      • "Bravo" Team
        • Team Leader (Petty Officer 1st Class; Leading Petty Officer)
        • Direct Action Operator: LMG operator
        • Direct Action Operator
        • Direct Action Operator
      • "Charlie" Team
        • Team Leader (Petty Officer 1st Class; Leading Petty Officer)
        • Direct Action Operator: LMG operator
        • Direct Action Operator
        • Direct Action Operator
Commando Troop (3rd Troop)
  • Commando Troop (3rd Troop): ~50 operators; commanded by a Lt. Commander
    • Reconnaissance Detachment: provides specialized reconnaissance of highly-sensitive targets for the Company in the eventuality that 1st and 2nd Troops are deemed to have insufficient organic reconnaissance assets; also used as a dedicated sniper unit that can be used as per the CO’s tasking
    • Anti-Armor Detachment: provides augmentation to 1st and 2nd Troops in the eventuality of high-probability enemy armor or low-altitude aircraft threat; such as in times of theater warfare
    • Demolitions Detachment: provides specialized demolitions capability to the Company of high-payoff targets in the eventuality that 1st and 2nd Troops are deemed to have insufficient organic demolitions assets

Operational capabilities

SPARTAN-G219: "I guess you still haven’t guessed the concept of hearts and minds. The civilian population only hates us because the previous administration’s way of dealing with rebels was to carpet bomb the towns they hid in."
SPARTAN-G299: "Oh, I’m all about hearts and minds. If I shoot the rebels in those places, they die faster."
Operation Morning Thunder, Mamore

NSCU is capable of conduction of operations throughout the special operations continuum, ranging from covert action (peacetime), counterterrorism and counterinsurgency (low-intensity conflict), and direct action and advance force operations (theater warfare). As the premier UNSC unconventional warfare unit, it is readily capable of HVT operations (assassination or liquefaction of high-value targets) and advanced counterterrorism operations, such as hostage rescue. During peacetime and within politically non-permissive environments, it is better suited for “legitimate” direct action operations; dedicated special missions units such as the 1st Special Clandestine Activities Regiment are better suited for undercover paramilitary operations, such as guerilla recruitment or assassination of politically-sensitive targets. Nevertheless, a small minority of NSCU operators (i.e. SPARTAN-G219) are undergoing clandestine operations training at the behest of ONI in order to partake in undercover operations where the combat expertise of a SPARTAN might be required.

Covert action

As aforementioned, the NSCU as a whole is not well suited for covert action in non-permissive environments; typically, only select operators are typically employed for clandestine operations. Nevertheless, in covert actions where urgent application of overwhelming force is required and existing ONI paramilitary operatives are deemed insufficient for the task at hand, NSCU can conduct direct action operations in support of ONI-sponsored covert action. Such activities are rare, but include Operation: MAGIC SUCCESS conducted on Sanghelios. Other instances where NSCU might participate in covert action include recovery or destruction of sensitive classified components from downed UNSC aircraft or spacecraft in the non-permissive battlespace or else support of UNSC-sponsored paramilitary or criminal organizations (i.e. the Powell Syndicate) or armed support and leadership of UNSC-sponsored guerillas.


As a special mission unit of the Advanced Special Operations Command, NSCU conducts advanced counterterrorism operations, such as hostage rescue and recovery of hijacked spacecraft or aircraft. In the eventuality of a hostage situation, 1st and 2nd Commando Troops are equipped and organized for rapid deployment to incident site, barricading off the site and preparing an option for forceful resolution of the situation. The two snipers organic to each Direct Action Detachment are trained for establishment of surveillance of the target building and provision of accurate, high-powered fires to cover a close-quarters assault. In such instances, each “Bravo” and “Charlie” Team of a Direct Action Detachment forms a mobile four-man assault element capable of breaching into the target building and clearing from room-to-room in order to eliminate the hostiles and to recover the hostages. All SPARTAN-III operators are extensively trained in close quarters battle and in the accuracy and risk assessment required for decisive target selection of kidnappers versus hostages (“selective kill”) in pitched room-to-room clearing operations.

Direct Action

During both low-intensity conflict and theater warfare, a special capability of NSCU is direct action—strike operations, typically deep penetration and time sensitive in nature, against high-payoff targets. Such direct action operations are referred to as “raid” or “interdiction” operations, based on the target at hand; both are conducted against against high-payoff targets. Formally, “raids” are conducted against enemy command sites, logistical centers, communications centers, power stations, or WMD delivery systems—such operations destroy the enemy’s command capabilities, logistical capabilities, communications capabilities, and warfighting capabilities. “Interdiction” operations are conducted against enemy spaceports, airfields, and major routes of travel and resupply routes; they disrupt the enemy’s means of advance and transportation. Direct action is a common operational tasking for the NSCU. Such strike operations are optimally conducted in the enemy rear area (where probability of attack is low) or inclement weather (which minimally effects MJOLNIR/SPI-equipped NSCU operators but significantly impedes un-augmented hostile personnel) and exploit the inherent aggressiveness and audacity of the SPARTAN-III operators.

Given that these strike operations are typically deep penetration attacks, NSCU operators often receive mechanized logistical assistance, inserting by means of orbital drop, airborne drop, or air assault. (Additional information in Section 3, “Insertion”)

Destruction of enemy installations or encampments may be done by the personal weapons, standoff weapons, or explosives carried by the NSCU field units themselves, or they may be done by supporting fires (artillery, aircraft, or orbital); in these instances, NSCU operators perform close target reconnaissance of the target and provide terminal guidance of supporting fires onto the target, often by means of laser target designator. The high priority designation of the NSCU often allows for extensive allocation of supporting fire assets to support NSCU operations, thus allowing for massive firepower on-hand, especially in the form of UNSC aircraft, to destroy any necessary enemy assets identified by NSCU field elements.

Advance force operations

“Advance force operations” is a broad umbrella term for any NSCU activities conducted to preface future NSCU operations or those operations of other Special Forces units or general purpose forces. At its most general levels, it typically includes special reconnaissance, landing zone establishment, and subterfuge operations; there is some overlap with those operations commonly associated with “direct action”. In the context of theater warfare, NSCU units are anticipated to insert onto and infiltrate an enemy-held world prior to the major UNSC invasion; NSCU elements were expected to penetrate and disrupt enemy defenses (i.e. anti-orbital or anti-air defenses) and secure drop zones for follow-on UNSC forces, such as Corsairs and Special Forces, to land; thus, such operations were broadly referred to “advance force operations”, as they were to preface the landing of other UNSC forces.

Special reconnaissance

Special reconnaissance was once a principal mission tasking of the SPARTAN-III Gamma Company by virtue of their original SPI suits, which afforded an active camouflage-like capability and enabled highly effective reconnaissance. Nevertheless, with the “Lightning Skill” reorganization and the incorporation of the NSCU into the UNSC Special Operations Command hierarchy, reconnaissance is a role that is increasingly assigned to non-augmented Special Forces units (i.e. Marine Force Reconnaissance), with highly valuable NSCU assets often assigned to direct action on high-priority targets instead.

Reconnaissance of provisional targets is solely to provide the Troop Headquarters, Company Headquarters, or higher headquarters with requested intelligence to inform subsequent mission planning. Reconnaissance targets may include suspected enemy encampments or other miscellaneous locations suspected to be host to high value targets (during counterinsurgency operations); geographical or meteorological reconnaissance is typically undertaken by other Special Forces units. Close target reconnaissance of sites suspected to host HVTs often resembles such as the reconnaissance undertaken by UNSC forces in the ill-fated Operation: PIERCING VIGIL.

NSCU reconnaissance operations, if successful, typically conclude in terminal guidance of supporting fires to destroy identified insurgent encampments or else high-powered sniper elimination or abduction of identified HVTs.

Though no longer a primary mission responsibility, the NSCU is still a highly adept reconnaissance organization as per the technical capabilities of its operators’ SPI armor.

Landing zone establishment

As with special reconnaissance, landing zone establishment remains an increasingly-unused capability of the NSCU, and instead is allocated to alternative Special Forces units or even special light infantry units such as the Corsair Pathfinders. In landing zone establishment, NSCU assets were to identify prospective landing zones (LZs) or drop zones (DZs) for the air assault, airdrop, or orbital drop of friendly general purpose forces, Special Forces, or NSCU units. Nevertheless, this responsibility has been largely handed over to more conventional, non-augmented units.


A highly potent capability organic to the NSCU is assassination; such a capability is not unique to the NSCU, but is also present within the 1st Special Clandestine Activities Regiment (Naval Intelligence), High Priority Assassination (Naval Intelligence), Naval Special Warfare Group Six (Navy), and Special Task Reconnaissance (Marines); nevertheless, the NSCU is extraordinary effective at it. Assassination—the targeted destruction of enemy personnel—is extremely effective against enemy military commanders and civilian leaders, decapitating the enemy military’s and populace’s decision-making capabilities. It is of mixed effectiveness against insurgent or terrorist ringleaders due to the “cellular” nature of such organizations; nevertheless, assassination is heavily exploited in UNSC counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaigns despite its mixed effectiveness in such contexts.

Assassination operations are ideally conducted by NSCU snipers, such as those organic to the Direct Action Detachments of 1st or 2nd Commando Troops or the specialized sniper-spotters of the Reconnaissance Detachment of 3rd Commando Troop. Nevertheless, given the high proportion of SPARTAN-III personnel trained on long-range weapons platforms, virtually all SPARTAN-III personnel are effectively capable of conduction of assassination.

Although assassination is doctrinally accomplished through high-accuracy fires from a sniper rifle weapons system, it may be accomplished through many means, including heavy weapons systems (i.e. anti-armor weapons against HVTs in vehicular transports), mines and various types of explosives, or even through melee weapons (i.e. by means of titanium carbide knife or even lethal hypodermic injection). Throughout the course of the existence of the NSCU, SPARTAN-III operators have displayed an amazing aptitude for unconventional and cruel methods of assassination of HVTs. An increasingly popular trend in ONI-sanctioned covert action is the use of lethal hypodermic injection to eliminate enemy HVTs; hypodermic injection marks are virtually impossible to find even by trained medical professionals and recent chemical compounds provided by the UNSC Directorate of Strategic Intelligence are extremely fast-acting and are unstable, thus allowing for complete dissolution of the lethal agent within seconds after injection—thus altogether leaving almost no incriminating evidence that could point to an UNSC-sanctioned assassination.

Another variation on assassination is abduction of enemy command personnel or insurgent leaders, which has become an increasingly popular NSCU tasking by the ONI Directorate of Strategic Intelligence; personnel capture allows for interrogation and extensive extraction of relevant interrogation and even the possibility of psychological “reprogramming” of captured personnel and their repurposing as infiltrators back into their home organizations. While psychological reprogramming is beyond the capabilities organic to the NSCU, many SPARTAN-III operatives are highly skilled at, and even relish brutal interrogation and are nightmarishly effective. Such “experimental” interrogation methods undertaken by NSCU have been augmented by the release of novel chemical interrogation agents such as resiniferatoxin by the Directorate of Strategic Intelligence, which are “force multipliers” when used in conjunction with traditional physical interrogation methods.

Forced entry insertion methods

A special capability of the NSCU is specialized methods of forced entry insertion into the area of operations or onto the target; such capabilities include orbital drop, airborne drop (HAHO/HALO), air assault, amphibious infiltration, and ground movement. Such insertion methods allow the NSCU to clandestinely infiltrate the denied battlespace, thus allowing for deep penetration reconnaissance or strikes against enemy objectives that are otherwise inaccessible to conventional forces. As orbital drop, airborne drop, amphibious infiltration, and ground tactical movement are extensively covered elsewhere, only air assault will be described herein.

Air assault

Air assault insertion may occur by means of fixed-wing or rotary aircraft; recent fixed-wing assets include the D77 “King Pelican” dropship, AV-121 “Cormorant” gunship, and the AV-14 “Super Hornet” VTOL whereas recent rotary assets include the UH-144X “Super Falcon” gunship. Insertion of NSCU operators by air assault is disadvantageous because it is limited by adverse meteorological conditions and access to suitable LZs, and furthermore, it is highly vulnerable to enemy anti-air weapons and aircraft. Nevertheless, it is advantageous compared to alternative means of insertion because of its rapidity and accuracy; furthermore, recent UNSC technological advances in aircraft design have minimized the radar return of low-altitude UNSC aircraft, thus increasing its clandestineness.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of most NSCU direct action operations, air assault is preferred method of insertion. Due to the rapidity of operations and the inability to deploy reconnaissance units to collect intelligence regarding suitable LZs, choice of LZ nearby the objective is often chosen by means of UAV surveillance of the target (if available) or else non-invasive satellite reconnaissance of the target. In order to preface NSCU air assault on suspected highly defended targets, air strikes by Air Force, Marine, or Navy aircraft (i.e. Shortswords, Longswords) is conducted along with SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) by specialized fighter craft and electronic warfare craft; such operations are designed to destroy enemy defenses prior to arrival of NSCU-laden lift assets and to suppress the capacity of enemy forces to attack NSCU assets while they are at their most vulnerable and concentrated configuration aboard their transport aircraft.

Each UH-144X “Super Falcon” can carry four to six NSCU operators, while each AV-14 “Super Hornet” can carry two to four NSCU operators and each D77 “King Pelican” can carry ten to twenty NSCU operators. As per standard operating procedure, each troop carrier aircraft employed in the air assault operation carries a single NSCU maneuver element—typically a four-man team from the Direct Action Detachment; a popular configuration is to carry a four-man NSCU direct action team aboard a “Super Falcon” platform. All aircraft are extensively equipped with countermeasures in order to defeat enemy anti-air ordinance and to preserve the lives of the NSCU operators onboard should they encounter surface-to-air fire.

If being deployed directly onto an enemy objective, NSCU operators may fast-rope from the aircraft for the sake of rapidity, or else they may disembark from the aircraft upon its landing; if being deployed far away from enemy forces, NSCU operators typically disembark after the aircraft lands due to the dangers inherent to fast-roping.

Assaults onto “live” targets are typically accomplished with multiple NSCU maneuver elements deployed by multiple aircraft, with the violence of action and swarming of the SPARTAN-III teams employed to shock, disrupt, and destroy enemy forces.

Equipment and weaponry

SPARTAN-G219 Katie

Petty Officer 2nd Class SPARTAN-G219, Team Jian, 1st Direct Action Detachment, 2nd Commando Troop.

As per the standard order of battle, two sniper rifles and two machine guns are allocated to each twelve-man Direct Action Detachment. However, it is important to note that the weaponry of the NSCU is highly varied, mission tailored, and special operations peculiar.

Additional machine guns, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, or directed energy weapons can be allocated as necessary for the task at hand; oftentimes, personnel within the “Bravo” or “Charlie” Teams carry machine guns (given the vast operational effectiveness of a machine gun over a standard rifle) or light anti-armor weapons such as the M41 rocket launcher. Given the modular MJOLNIR or SPI powered armored systems afforded to all SPARTAN-III operators, all operators carry short- to mid-range signals sets for intra-Team or intra-Detachment communications, as well as helmet recorders for MILINT and post-mission assessment and a variety of specialized built-in visor optics—these include high-resolution digital magnification (for close target reconnaissance), night vision optics (for nighttime operations), infrared optics (for laser target designation), thermal optics, auditory triangulation (for direction-finding of inbound fire), motion trackers (for close quarters battle), and the VISR suite of automated threat analysis software of helmet footage (adopted from ODST Special Forces units).

Standard weaponry for close quarters battle is the M7 submachine gun (optional integral flash/sound suppressor), while standard weaponry for standard rifle-range engagements is the BR55HB SR Battle Rifle; all NSCU units are field-testing and are expecting to transit to the au courant BR77 SABR (Special Applications Battle Rifle). The M6 semiautomatic handgun is carried as a sidearm in the eventuality of primary weapon malfunction or ammunition depletion. Nevertheless, to reiterate the point, weaponry for field operations is highly variable and is strictly dependent on provisional mission requirements and conditions. A unique feature of the NSCU relative to other Special Forces units is that the special powered armor configurations of the NSCU allows its operators to simultaneously carry multiple weapons systems, heavy weapons systems, or extensive amounts of ammunition unbefitting of non-augmented personnel or personnel without power armor—for example, SPARTAN-IIIs serving in the capacity of heavy weapons operators may carry .50-caliber heavy machine guns or significant reserves of ammunition for dedicated anti-armor weapons.

All SPARTAN-III operators have limited forward observer training; all Team Leaders/Leading Petty Officers are specifically trained as joint forward observers, qualified for terminal guidance of artillery, aircraft, or orbital fires. Nevertheless, all the MJOLNIR/SPI powered armor suits of all NSCU operators is equipped with an infrared laser target designator in the helmet suite. All Team Leaders and reconnaissance specialists are also required to carry a Hardened Uplink Module (HUL) on their MJOLNIR/SPI powered armor for secure and high-bandwidth transmission of helmet footage to Troop Headquarters or higher headquarters for the purposes of MILINT collection.

While all SPARTAN-III operators have short- to mid-range signals capabilities organic to their MJOLNIR/SPI powered armor, including a VHF radio for air-ground communications, the Detachment Commander/Officer in Charge, Detachment Chief, and all Team Leaders/Leading Petty Officers are required to carry SATCOM signals sets for long-range communications as well as a Network Command Module to maintain a short-range tactical wireless network for all team members.


Rank listed as per 2553 and Operation Steadfast; dagger indicates deceased status

Commissioned Officers


Operational Elements

Permanent Elements

Permanent operating elements accounted for in the "Electric Skill" organizational scheme, commonly named after varieties of melee weapons:

Task-Organized Elements

Provisional operating elements temporarily created on a task-organized basis to meet special operations peculiar operational requirements:

Table of Organization & Equipment

Rank Insignia Billets
Commander (O5) Reach - Lieutenant Colonel Grade 1 1
Lieutenant Commander (O4) Reach - Lieutenant Colonel 4
Lieutenant (O3) Reach - Major Grade 3 10
Lieutenant Jr. Grade (O2) Reach - Major 1
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) Apprentice Grade Two 2
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) Apprentice Grade One 4
Master Chief Petty Officer (E9) Reach - Captain 1
Senior Chief Petty Officer (E8) Reach - Warrant Officer 4
Chief Petty Officer (E7) Reach - Sergeant 9
Petty Officer 1st Class (E6) Reach - Corporal Grade 1 20
Petty Officer 2nd Class (E5) Reach - Corporal 91
Total 147
Commissioned Officers 16 (10.9%)
Warrant Officers 6 (4.1%)
Enlisted 125 (85.0%)
Naval Personnel 147 (100.0%)
Marine Personnel 0 (0.0%)

Battle Honors

Ordered alphabetically by stellar system of combat action; asterisk indicates covert action where no UNSC presence was acknowledged—

Behind the scenes

  • The UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit is named after the Special Commando Unit, a Vietnamese indigenous Special Forces unit that operated under MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War.
  • The rank insignia presented in the "Operators" section are taken from the Halo: Reach in-game ranking system and represent stylized versions of the authentic UNSC rank carried on the uniforms of NSCU personnel.
  • The author did not realize beforehand that the abbreviation of the Naval Special Commando Unit was "NSCU", which if re-spelled, reads "UNSC"; this was a serendipitous choice.


  1. A reference to the motto of the Singapore Guards of the Singapore Army, which serve as elite heliborne rapid deployment forces. The article's author is presently living in Singapore; the NSCU unofficial motto is tacit acknowledgement of this.


This article's author, RelentlessRecusant, would like to thank the following for their contributions to this article:

  • D.W., a Army officer with the Singapore Armed Forces who proofread the Order of Battle and commented on the organization of the NSCU.
  • Actene, a long-standing collaborator of one and a half years with the article's author on the Galactic Era collaboration, whose various SPARTAN-III characters, such as those of Team Jian, are key members of the NSCU and its operations; the article's author was actually inspired to write the NSCU article and detail its military organization after writing a military backstory for Team Jian.

UNSC Advanced Special Operations Command / Progressive Warfare Division
1st Marine Expeditionary Reconnaissance Company1st Special Clandestine Activities RegimentHigh Priority AssassinationNaval Special Commando Unit
Naval Special Warfare Group SixSpecial Task Reconnaissance
Source · Edit