The CTOE - Centro de Tropas de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Troops Centre), based in Lamego, is a unit of the Portuguese Army with the mission of instructing troops in unconventional warfare and Counter-Terrorism. Until 2006 it was known as CIOE - Centro de Instrução de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Instruction Centre).
The CTOE contains an operational unit, FOE, tasked with performing missions similar to the US Army's Special Forces or British SAS. Some of these missions include conducting Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP), raids against high value targets, locating enemy command and control centres, targeting and destruction of enemy air defences and radar systems, and POW rescue operations. The unit can be infiltrated by parachute, helicopter, small boat, or by foot.
The CTOE has several courses:
COE - Curso de Operações Especiais (Special Operations Course): direct action (reconnaissance, raids, hostage and POW rescues) and indirect action (insurgency and guerrilla, counter-insurgency and counter-guerrilla, military aid) - 21 weeks.
Sniper Course (requires previous COE): 14 weeks.
Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Course (requires previous COE): reconnaissance and direct action special operations (8 weeks).
Irregular Operations Course (only for officers and NCOs of the permanent cadre): organisation, instruction, and orientation of irregular forces with of the objective of defending the national territory (Portugal) when invaded and start the resistance (4 weeks).
Psychological Operations Course.
Terrorist Threats' Prevention and Combat Course.