As with many countries, Italy has multiple agencies within the police and military charged with the mission of counter-terrorism. Gruppo de Intervento Speciale (GIS) within the Carabinieri is often cited as the national counter-terrorist unit, which is equivalent to the FBI HRT (High Risk Target), while the Naval COMSUBIN have a Maritime counter-terror role similar to the US Navy SEALs DevGroup. However, because of the 1982 rescue of kidnapped US General James Dozier, the best known Italian CT unit in the United States is probably the Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NOCS), pronounced “knocks,” of the Polizia di Stato.
Background & Evolution
The unit was initially formed in 1974 as the “Counter Commando Unit” to give the police anti-terrorism bureau a tactical capability. The initial 35 recruits were chosen because they were among the top martial artists in the police sports club. Before they were “stood up,” the unit underwent a year of training in combat shooting, high-speed driving, tactical operations and, of course, martial arts. By 1975, the unit was in action against terrorist groups from both political sides, especially the Armed Revolutionary Nucleus.