List of military special forces units

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This is a list of active military special forces units.

Although several NATO documents use the term Special Forces, the NATO-Russia Glossary of Contemporary Political and Military Terms doesn't contain any definition for Special Forces. It does have a definition for Special Operations Forces and Special Operations Force:[1]

  • special-operations forces -

Strategic formations and units of the armed forces, whose role is to conduct sabotage, reconnaissance, subversive and other special operations on the territory of foreign countries. In wartime they may also be assigned tasks such as intelligence-gathering, the seizure or destruction of key installations, the conduct of psychological operations or the organization of insurgencies in the enemy’s rear area. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have separate special-operations forces brigades, battalions and companies which are integrated with the intelligence assets of military districts, fronts, fleets, armies or corps.

  • special-operations force -

Designated special groups of selected servicemen which provide NATO with unique capabilities of special reconnaissance, direct action and military assistance in order to undertake difficult, dangerous and sometimes politically sensitive missions for the theatre commander.

These are distinct from special-purpose infantry units such as the Royal Marine Commandos or U.S. Army Rangers.

Other potential sources of a good definition for Special Forces or Special Operations Forces include the Department of Defense Dictionary and the 24th Special Tactics Squadron memoir No Room for Error by Col. John T. Carney, and Benjamin F. Schemmer.

For other units, see:

Afghanistan Afghanistan[edit]

Afghan National Army

Albania Albania[edit]

Albanian Armed Forces

Algeria Algeria[edit]

Algerian Army
  • 25eme Regiment de Reconnaissance (25th reconnaissance regiment)
Algerian Navy
  • Batallion des Fusiliers Marins (Naval Commando Battalion)
  • Plongeurs de combat (Combat Divers)
Algerian Air Force
  • 772nd and 782nd Regiment des Fusiliers Commandos de l'air (RFCA)[2]

Angola Angola[edit]

Angolan Armed Forces
  • Special Forces Brigade — reported 2007, located at Cabo Ledo region, northern Bengo Province.[3]

Argentina Argentina[edit]

Argentine Air Force
Argentine Army
Argentine Navy

Armenia Armenia[edit]

Armenian Army
  • one spetsnaz regiment[4]

Australia Australia[edit]

Special Operations Command[5]
Royal Australian Navy

Austria Austria[edit]

Austrian Army

Azerbaijan Azerbaijan[edit]

Azerbaijani Navy
  • 641st Special Warfare Naval Unit

Bangladesh Bangladesh[edit]

Belarus Belarus[edit]

Armed Forces of Belarus

Belgium Belgium[edit]

Belgian Land Component

Benin Benin[edit]

Bolivia Bolivia[edit]

  • Fuerza de Tarea "Diablos Azules" (FTDA) (River commando group)
  • 17th, 24th and 27th Ranger Regiment (Satinadores)

Botswana Botswana[edit]

Brazil Brazil[edit]

Brazilian Air Force
  • Para-SAR – Special Pararescue Unit — Highly trained paratrooper, trained in evasion and extraction, tactical rescue and survival in hostile environment.
Brazilian Army
Brazilian Navy
  • COMANF – Amphibian Commando — Brazilian Marine Corps Commandos who are attached to the Special Operations Battalion, the Batalhão Tonelero.
  • GRUMEC - Combat Divers Group — Unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism and special reconnaissance at sea and seashore.

Brunei Brunei[edit]

Bulgaria Bulgaria[edit]

Bulgarian Land Forces

Burkina Faso Burkina Faso[edit]

Cameroon Cameroon[edit]

Cambodia Cambodia[edit]

Royal Cambodian Army

Canada Canada[edit]

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command

Chile Chile[edit]

Chilean Air Force
Chilean Army
Chilean Navy

China China[edit]

People's Liberation Army Marine Corps[19]
  • One special operations battalion
  • One Special Forces amphibious reconnaissance battalion
People's Liberation Army Ground Force

Colombia Colombia[edit]

Colombian Air Force
Colombian Navy
National Army of Colombia

Congo Democratic Republic of[edit]

  • 31e Brigade Commando des Unites de Reaction Rapide(URR/321,322 and 323rd battalion)
  • 391st Commando battalion URR[21]
  • 41st and 42nd Commando battalion URR

Croatia Croatia[edit]

Croatian Army

Cyprus Cyprus[edit]

Cypriot National Guard
  • Special Forces Command (DKD)
  • 31, 32, 33 and 35 MK(Moira/Monada Katadromon)
  • Tmina Eidikon Omadwa(TEO/ special recon platoon)
Cyprus Navy
  • Underwater Demolition Command (OYK)

Czech Republic Czech Republic[edit]

Armed Forces of the Czech Republic (ACR)

Denmark Denmark[edit]

Danish Home Guard
Royal Danish Army
Royal Danish Navy

Ecuador Ecuador[edit]

Ecuadorian Army

Egypt Egypt[edit]

Egyptian Army

El Salvador El Salvador[edit]

Salvadoran Army
  • Comando de Fuerzas Especiales (CFE) Special Forces Command
    • Comando Especial Anti-Terrorista (CEAT) Counter-Terrorism Special Command
      • Francotiradores (Snipers)
      • Asalto (Assault)
    • Grupo de Operaciones Especiales (GOE) Special Operations Group
      • Comandos Hacha
      • Patrullas de Reconocimiento y Alcance Largo (PRAL) Long Distance Recon Patrols
    • Comandos Navales
      • Nadadores de Combate (Combat Swimmers)
      • Buzos de Combate (Combat Divers)
    • Batallon de Paracaidistas (BP) Parachute Battalion
      • Paracaidistas (Paratroopers)
      • Caida Libre (Freefall HAHO/HALO)
      • Aparejadores (Riggers)
  • Destacamento Militar No 4 (DM4) 4th Military Detachment
    • Comandos de Montana (Mountain Commandos)
Salvadoran Navy
  • Comandos Anfibios

Eritrea Eritrea[edit]

Estonia Estonia[edit]

Estonian Army

Ethiopia Ethiopia[edit]

Finland Finland[edit]

Finnish Army
Finnish Navy

France France[edit]

Gabon Gabon[edit]

Georgia (country) Georgia[edit]

Germany Germany[edit]

German Army
German Navy
German Air Force

Greece Greece[edit]

Hellenic Army
  • 13th Special Ops Command including Z' MAK (Zeta Amphibious Raider Squadron)
Hellenic Navy
Hellenic Air Force

Guatemala Guatemala[edit]

Guatemalan Army
  • Kaibiles
  • Fuerzas Especiales Navales (FEN)

Guinea Guinea[edit]

Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau[edit]

Honduras Honduras[edit]

Hungary Hungary[edit]

India India[edit]

Indian Army
Indian Navy
Indian Air Force

Indonesia Indonesia[edit]

Indonesian Air Force
Indonesian Army
Indonesian Navy

Iran Iran[edit]

IRGC

Iraq Iraq[edit]

Iraqi Army

Republic of Ireland Ireland[edit]

Irish Army

Israel Israel[edit]

Israeli Air Force
Israeli Army
Israeli Navy

Italy Italy[edit]

Carabinieri
Italian Air Force
Italian Army
Italian Navy

Japan Japan[edit]

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Jordan Jordan[edit]

Joint Special Operations Command
  • 37th King Abdullah II Royal Special Forces Brigade
  • 28th Prince Hussein Royal Rangers Brigade (Al-Saiqa)
  • 5th Prince Hashim Special Operation Aviation Brigade
  • 91st Airborne Orientation Battalion
  • 81st Airborne Battalion
  • 61st Special Reconnaissance Battalion [44]
Royal Naval Force
  • 77th Marines Reconnaissance Battalion
  • Maritime Assault Team
  • Maritime Counter-terrorism Unit
  • Royal Jordanian Navy Frogman Team
  • Royal Jordanian Navy Special Boat Unit

South Korea Republic of Korea[edit]

Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense
  • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
    • Defense Intelligence Command (DIC)
      • Army Intelligence Command (AIC)
      • Underwater Demolition Unit (UDU)
      • 20th Special Service Group

Kuwait Kuwait[edit]

  • One special forces unit (forming) (IISS Military Balance 2013)

Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Latvia Latvia[edit]

Latvian Army

Lebanon Lebanon[edit]

Lebanese Army
Lebanese Navy

Lesotho Lesotho[edit]

  • Commando company

Lithuania Lithuania[edit]

Lithuanian Special Operations Force
  • Anti-terrorism Force squad (ARAS)
  • Combat Divers Service (CDS)
  • Special Operations Element (SOG)
  • Special Purpose Service (YPT)
  • Vytautas the Great Jaeger Battalion (VGJB)

Republic of Macedonia Macedonia[edit]

  • Special operations regiment(SF and Ranger battalion)
  • 501st para commando detachment

Madagascar Madagascar[edit]

  • 1er Regiment Forces d Intervention(RFI1/ parachute battalion)
  • 2eme Regiment Forces d Intervention(RFI2/ naval commando coy)

Malaysia Malaysia[edit]

Crest of the Malaysian Army.svg Malaysian Army
Crest of the Royal Malaysian Navy.svg Royal Malaysian Navy
Crest of Royal Malaysian Air Force.svg Royal Malaysian Air Force

Mali Mali[edit]

  • 33eme Regiment Commando Parachutiste (33 RPC)
  • Fusiliers de l'air (air force commando detachment)
  • Groupe Commando Volontaire(GCV/Commando detachment)

Mexico Mexico[edit]

Mexican Army

*Fuerzas Especiales del Alto Mando(FEAM). Santa Fe,Distrito Federal

Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales(CFE). Temamatla, Estado de México

*First Special Forces Brigade (Mexico) Puebla, Puebla

*Second Special Forces Brigade Tijuana, Baja California

*Third Special Forces Brigade Cd.Ixtepec, Oaxaca

Fuerza Especial de la Brigada de Fusileros Paracaidistas (FE BFP). Lomas de Sotelo, Distrito Federal

Fuerza Especial de la Policía Militar(FE PM). Lomas de Sotelo, Distrito Federal

First Battalion of Special Operations of the Military Police (1/BOE). Lomas de Sotelo, Distrito Federal

Segundo Batallon de Operaciones Especiales de la Policía Militar (2/BOE). Lomas de Sotelo, Distrito Federal

Mexican Navy

Fuerzas Especiales (FES/Fuerza, Espitu y Sabiduria)

Morocco Morocco[edit]

Netherlands Netherlands[edit]

Royal Netherlands Army

Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
Royal Netherlands Air Force
Royal Marechaussee

New Zealand New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand Army

Niger Niger[edit]

  • 122e compagnie parachutiste(122nd para coy stationed in Niamey)
  • 322eme compagnie parachutiste(322nd para coy stationed in Maradi)
  • Rapid reaction company(?)

Nigeria Nigeria[edit]

  • Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (NNSBS)
  • Nigerian Army 72 Special Forces Battalion
  • Nigerian Air Force Quick Response Force (QRF)

Nicaragua Nicaragua[edit]

  • Comando de Operaciones Especiales(COE)"General de Division Pedro Altamirano"(SF brigade)
  • Destacamento de Operaciones Especiales de la Fuerza Naval(naval commando detachment)

Norway Norway[edit]

Norwegian Armed Forces Special Operations Forces

Pakistan Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Army
Pakistan Navy

Peru Peru[edit]

Peruvian Army
  • 1st Special Forces Brigade (1ra Brigada de Fuerzas Especiales)
  • 3rd Special Forces Brigade (3ra Brigada de Fuerzas Especiales)Cuartel General del BCFE, Base Militar del Campo Grande, Asuncion, Paraguay
  • 26th Special Forces Group "Quevedo"
  • Special Forces Group "Puma"
Peruvian Navy

Philippines Philippines[edit]

Armed Forces of the Philippines
Philippine Air Force
Philippine Army Special Operations Command
Philippine Marine Corps
Philippine Navy

Poland Poland[edit]

[53] [54][55] [56] [57]

Portugal Portugal[edit]

Portuguese Army
Portuguese Navy

Romania Romania[edit]

Ministry of Defense

Russia Russia[edit]

Special Operations Forces, subordinate directly to the MoD[63][64]

Senegal Senegal[edit]

  • Bataillon des Parachutistes (Para battalion)
  • Batallion des Commandos (Commando battalion)
  • Compagnie des fusiliers marins commandos (COFUMACO/naval commando coy)
  • Groupement des fusiliers commandos d air (GROUFUAIR)
  • Compagnie des forces speciales (CFS)

Serbia Serbia[edit]

Serbian Armed Forces

Singapore Singapore[edit]

Singapore Army
Republic of Singapore Navy

Slovakia Slovakia[edit]

Slovak Army

Slovenia Slovenia[edit]

South Africa South Africa[edit]

South African National Defence Force

Spain Spain[edit]

Spanish Army
Spanish Navy
  • Fuerza de Guerra Naval Especial (FGNE) [69]
    • Especial de Buceadores de Combate (UEBC)
    • Unidad de Operaciones Especiales(Special Operation Unit-UOE)
Spanish Air Force

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka[edit]

Sri Lanka Army
Sri Lanka Navy
Sri Lanka Air Force

Sudan Sudan[edit]

Suriname Surinam[edit]

Sweden Sweden[edit]

Swedish Armed Forces
Swedish Army
Swedish Royal Navy

Switzerland Switzerland[edit]

Swiss Army

Kommando Spezialkräfte KSK (Special Forces Command)

Professional units

Militia units

  • Grenadier Battalion 20
  • Grenadier Battalion 30
  • Grenadier Battalion 40 (Reserve)
  • Fallschirmaufklärer Kompanie 17 (Parachute Reconnaissance Company 17)

Syria Syria[edit]

Syrian Army
Special Forces Command
  • 41st, 45th, 46th, 47th, 53rd and 54th independent special forces(Airborne/Air Assault) regiments[citation needed]

Tajikistan Tajikistan[edit]

  • CT detachment "Alpha"
  • 7th air assault brigade of mobile forces
  • Spetsnaz detachment(within National Guard)

Thailand Thailand[edit]

Royal Thai Army
  • Special Warfare Division
Royal Thai Navy
Royal Thai Marine Corps
  • Marine Reconnaissance Battalion
Royal Thai Air Force
  • Royal Thai Air Force Commando Company
  • Royal Thai Air Force Pararescue

Taiwan Republic of China (Taiwan)[edit]

Republic of China Army
  • 101st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion (ARB 101)
  • Special Operation Command (862nd and 871st Special Operations Groups)
  • Army Special Services Company (ASSC/CT unit)
Republic of China Marine Corps
  • Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit (ARPU)
  • Underwater Demolition Unit (UDU)
  • Special Service Company (SSC)
Republic of China Air Force
  • Paratrooper Special Tactics unit

Tanzania Tanzania[edit]

  • Maritime Special Forces

Togo Togo[edit]

  • Regiment Commando de la Garde Presidentielle(RCGP)
  • Regiment Parachutiste Commando(RPC)
  • Fusiliers Marins Commandos(FUMACO/ naval commando coy)

Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago[edit]

  • Special Forces Ordinance Detachment (SFOD)
  • Special Naval Unit (SNU)

Tunisia Tunisia[edit]

Tunisian Army
  • Groupement Forces Spéciales (G.F.S/ "Army's Special Brigade")
    • Groupement d'Intervention Militaire (G.I.M/ G.F.S's Elites)
    • GFS Naval Commandos Unit
    • GFS Combat Divers
    • GFS Paratroopers
Tunisian Navy
  • Marine Corps Commandos
Tunisian National Guard
  • Department of Anti-terrorism
    • Unité Spéciale de la Garde Nationale (U.S.G.N/ "BS3")
    • Unités Commandos de la Garde Nationale (U.C.G.N/ "BS2" and "BS1")
    • Countering Terrorism Squad
Tunisian Presidency
  • Groupe d'Intervention Présidentielle (G.I.P)
  • Soutien Oppérationelle Présidentielle (S.O.P/ Also called "Groupes d'Appui")
  • Groupe d'Intervention Maritime (diver, navy commandos)

Turkey Turkey[edit]

Turkish General Staff
Turkish Land Forces
Turkish Air Force
Turkish Naval Forces
Gendarmerie General Command

Turkmenistan Turkmenistan[edit]

  • 152nd air assault brigade (Spetsnaz brigade)

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates[edit]

United Kingdom United Kingdom[edit]

Ukraine Ukraine[edit]

  • 3rd Separate Spetsnaz Regiment (stationed in Kirovograd)
  • 8th Separate Spetsnaz Regiment (stationed in Khmelnitskyi)
  • 10th Separate Spetsnaz Detachment (stationed in Kyiv)
  • 801st Anti-diversionary Detachment (stationed in Sevastopol)
  • 73rd Special Naval Center (73 MTSSN) (stationed in Ochakiv)
  • "A" CT unit(within SBU)

United States United States[edit]

Uzbekistan Uzbekistan[edit]

  • Rapid Reaction Brigade 7332
  • Spetsnaz battalion(Within eastern military district)
  • 17th air assault brigade (Military Unit 64411)
  • Spetsnaz detachment(Tashkent)
  • Rapid reaction detachment "C"(CT unit)
  • 4th parachute brigade
  • 2nd Spetsnaz Brigade (actually coy within National Guard)

Venezuela Venezuela[edit]

  • Special Operations Brigade "Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda"
Venezuelan Army
  • 106 Special Operations Battalion
  • 506 Special Operations Battalion
Venezuelan Navy

8th Special Operations Command Brigade Generalissimo

Venezuelan Air Force
  • Special Operations Squadron
Venezuelan National Guard
  • Special Actions Group (Grupo de Acciones Especiales)
  • Counter Extortion and Hostage Groups (Grupos Anti-Extorsión y Secuestros – GAES -)

Vietnam Vietnam[edit]

Vietnam People's Army
  • Vietnam Commando (Đặc công Việt Nam)
  • M1 (FIBUA and CT operations)
  • M13 (operations in jungle and mountains)
  • K3 (Đoàn Trinh sát - Đặc nhiệm K3)
  • 2 naval commando groups (Đoàn Đặc Công M26 và 126)
  • M44 (within 2nd infantry division)
  • DC20 (within 1st military zone)
  • Đoàn Đặc Công 41/B1 (4th military zone)
  • Đoàn Trinh Sát 12 (recon unit in 4th military zone)
  • Đoàn Đặc Công 409 (5th military zone)
  • Đoàn Trinh Sát 1 (2nd army corps)
  • Đoàn Đặc Công 198 (3rd army corps)
  • Đoàn Đặc Công 129 (4th army corps)
  • M5, M113, M429 commando units

Zimbabwe Zimbabwe[edit]

Zimbabwe National Army
  • Boat Squadron
  • Combat Diving Unit
  • Special Air Service
  • Commando regiment

Non-combat special units[edit]

While the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group is a relatively overt unit, references to the JSOC units below are rare. Possibly the only authoritative source is Ambinder, Marc, and D. B. Grady The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army, John Wiley & Sons, 2012.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Army Special Forces Celebrate Years, 3 May 2007.
  4. ^ IISS Military Balance 2013, p.215. See also http://desantura.ru/am/
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  82. ^ Gary Parsons (January 2014). "News briefs". AirForces Monthly (Stamford: Key Publishing): pg.7. 
  83. ^ http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/Naval-Bases/Portsmouth/Fleet-Diving-Squadron/Fleet-Diving-Group
  84. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1360109/British-unit-prepares-to-defy-extremes-of-the-Afghan-winter.html
  85. ^ http://www.army.mod.uk/structure/28211.aspx
  86. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "SOCOM 2013 Factbook". 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  87. ^ Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit | Unité interarmées d'intervention du Canada. Cjiru-uiic.forces.gc.ca. Retrieved on 8 September 2011.
  88. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10648941/Elite-Navy-rescue-team-always-on-call-to-help-submariners.html, and http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121113105021/youtube.com/user/defenceheadquarters?year=2007&page=13. Also see ARRSE.com
  89. ^ http://theweek.com/article/index/241802/the-most-secret-of-secret-units
Miscellaneous Notes


  1. ^ The Japanese Special Forces Group is the current name of the former Japanese Special Operations Group, following a name change.

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