An EXALT Operative is a new enemy introduced in XCOM: Enemy Within.


A standard EXALT foot-soldier, armed with a Frag Grenade and an EXALT Assault Rifle. They appear to wear a light bullet-proof vest, and are otherwise in business dress. Their assault rifle has the same statistics as XCOM's model, but is noticeably shorter and highly resembles a G36. Their voices are obscured by static-filled radio, though one can hear them using the Base Security voicelines when panicked.


An EXALT Operative possesses no special abilities. They are comparable to Rookies in this regard. In combat, EXALT operatives will mostly stick to cover, firing at XCOM units with assault rifles and grenades. Notably, they will throw their grenades to destroy cover on all difficulties, similarly to how Mutons throw grenades on higher difficulties.


  • EXALT members will commit suicide if captured.


  • The lack of special abilities make engaging these enemies straightforward. Keep hard, solid full cover to avoid getting uncovered by their grenades and try to flank them.
  • Operatives are very similar to Mutons and should be engaged in the same fashion: Care should be taken to avoid or mitigate the effects of their grenades (as they bypass and destroy cover), which can be done by breaking line of sight, thus forcing the Operatives to search for the squad, and spreading your forces, respectively.
  • EXALT Medics and Operatives possess some of the lowest Aim stats among all the enemies encountered in the game, even on higher difficulties. Any cover should provide sufficient protection from their rifles.
  • Unlike the aliens, EXALT Operatives will use their grenade in order to blow up cover even in lower difficulties.
  • Be wary of other EXALT units. In general, EXALT operatives are the second to lowest on the EXALT threat levels (the lowest being EXALT medics, then EXALT snipers, and most dangerously EXALT heavies). One should only really be concerned about their frag grenades; engaging them at range is advantageous.


  • This unit's -10 critical chance penalty on Easy and Normal difficulties counteracts the weapon's +10, resulting in a net 0% critical chance.


At a lowly 1200 points, the EXALT Operative can be compared to a stock Rookie, though having a much less reliable Aim statistic of only 50. Their primary advantages are their low cost and the fact that they wield a Frag Grenade, for a much, much cheaper price than an equivalent XCOM Rookie. They are non customizable, and their EXALT Assault Rifle is only really effective on Sectoids and Thin Men. These two disadvantages are more than made up for by its cheap cost and its cover-destroying Frag Grenade. Ideally, the EXALT operative should be used as a cheap scout and grenadier, taking the enemy's cover so that larger units can engage the target much more easily. In this role the EXALT Operative excels, but as soon as its Grenade is deployed the Operative suddenly becomes much less effective, having lost its only guaranteed method of damage and now needing to rely on its terrible aim and weak Assault Rifle.