Covenant Special Operations

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Covenant Special Operations soldiers deployed at the Threshold gas mine.

Special Operations (SpecOps) was the primary division of the Covenant Special Warfare Group (SWG).[1] They served in specialized operations roles, and were generally tasked with unconventional warfare[1][2] alongside stealth infiltration and classified missions personally comissioned by a San'Shyuum official.[3]


Separatist SpecOps Officers deploying during the Battle of Voi.


Special Operations worked within SWG to conduct unconventional warfare initiatives, by way of stealth and infiltration. Their units typically worked alongside conventional Covenant military forces to infiltrate enemy fortifications and conduct advance reconnaissance, with their primary goals being to prevent an enemy force from responding to attack in as discreet and efficient a manner possible.[1][2] However, SpecOps units may also work in the field in total isolation for long periods of time; these missions are often done via the direct orders of a Hierarch[3] and are extremely classified.[1][2] When necessary, SpecOps forces may also be used to conduct guerilla warfare behind enemy lines or even conduct assassinations on high-value targets.[1][2][4]

Although Special Operations serve in a broadly similar capacity to Stealth units, they are not one and the same. Stealth Sangheili units work as an offshoot of the SpecOps concept, and are instead organised under Covenant Fleet Security, with units spread throughout the mainline Covenant military to carry out standard battlefield deployments. By comparison, SpecOps units are independent strike teams sent on missions with acute and specific objects, without wider application for the rest of the military.[4] Nonetheless, SpecOps deployments often worked closely alongside both Fleet Security and Home Security.[2]

Even as of 2558, information about Special Operations was in scarce supply to the Office of Naval Intelligence, beyond the knowledge that they were considered the most proficient tactical units within the Covenant military forces. As such, United Nations Space Command directives dictate that all encounters with them by human military forces should be logged with UNSC High Command.[5]


Covenant Special Operations were, much akin to the rest of the military, traditionally dominated by Sangheili[3] - who served as the division's sole commanders.[2] However, while the Sangheili did dominate role they were not the exclusive personnel of the unit; other species of the Covenant were permitted to serve in the SpecOps group, though always in subordinate roles under Sangheili commanders.[2] The Unggoy were rarely able to join SpecOps detachments at the discretion of individual commanders. However, it was more common for Unggoy to be promoted to SpecOps roles not of their own volition; when a Sangheili warrior was promoted into the ranks of SpecOps their cadre of Unggoy underlings would typically join them too.[6]


Sangheili serving in SpecOps served under the title of Special Operations Officer.[4][7] For placement in SpecOps strike teams, these warriors must have proven themselves in both close-quarters combat and in skills of marksmanship.[3] SpecOps strike teams would be commanded by a commander, with a sub-commander serving as their aide.[8]

Within Special Operations, a number of specialised sub-units existed. These units would generally be deployed as a kai'd - a small unit or group organised by a variety of circumstantial attributes. Such units employed in such a manner included the Silent Shadow, an all-Sangheili order who worked as elite assassins. More notoriously within SpecOps circles were the Bloodstars; a particular order led by Jiralhanae who gained influence within the Covenant in the opening years of the Human-Covenant War due to their singular mission focus - the elimination of humanity's SPARTAN-II supersoldiers. The Bloodstars often employed a variety of specialists including members of the Silent Shadow.[1] Select highly skilled Silent Shadow personnel took on the title of First Blade.[9][10]

Notable members[edit]


List of appearances[edit]