Joint Support Group
The Joint Support Group (JSG) is an elite group within the Army Intelligence Corps. The JSG's role is to recruit and run agents, often by turning existing members of a terrorist organization into double agents.
The JSG's forerunner was the Force Research Unit (FRU), which was active in Northern Ireland during much of The Troubles. The FRU turned IRA members into British agents who provided valuable intelligence on upcoming IRA operations, many of which were subsequently interdicted by the security services. Controversy surrounded the FRU due to allegations that it provided Unionist terror groups with intelligence that lead to sectarian murders.
In recent years, The Joint Support Group has been redeployed from Northern Ireland to Afghanistan and to Iraq and where it is reported to have infiltrated agents into the Iraqi insurgency. The JSG works alongside UKSF and US Special Operations forces providing them with vital human intelligence (HUMINT).
According to a 2014 report in the Mirror newspaper, the JSG consists of a headquarters element, a training wing and 4 squadrons. Each squadron contains around 100 operatives.
It's believed that Iraqi agents run by the JSG provided intelligence on a bomb making factory in downtown Baghdad to 'Task Force Black', the SAS contingent of a special joint task force of Special Operations units. The result was operation marlborough, a highly successful SAS strike against the insurgency.
The JSG is also thought to have gathered HUMINT that lead, in June 2006, to the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
When the SAS rescued kidnapped Briton, Norman Kember from kidnappers in Iraq, it was acting on information obtained by the Joint Support Group.
Selection & Training
The JSG recruits operatives, both male and female from all branches of the military. Maximum recruitment age is 42.
Candidates go through a 2 week pre-selection course which is designed to filter out anyone without the basic interpersonal skills needed to run agents.
Pre-selection is followed by 4 months of intense training at the Intelligence Corps HQ at Chicksands, Bedfordhsire. The focus of the training is on their difficult and sometimes repugnant role of recruiting terrorists as intelligence assets. It takes a sophisticated application of psychology, manipulation and persuasion to convince an insurgent to betray his comrades and become a double agent.
Although not tasked with direct combat missions, JSG members may need to meet their agents in hostile neighborhoods, and so are trained in counter-surveillance drills, anti-ambush techniques and close quarters combat (CQB), with an emphasis on pistol shooting.
more info / further reading:
- Mews: Joint Support Group To Downsize