List of military special forces units
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This is a list of active military special forces units. Several NATO documents use the term special forces.
- 1 Definition
- 2 Albania
- 3 Afghanistan
- 4 Angola
- 5 Armenia
- 6 Azerbaijan
- 7 Australia
- 8 Austria
- 9 Bangladesh
- 10 Belarus
- 11 Belgium
- 12 Botswana
- 13 Brazil
- 14 Brunei
- 15 Bulgaria
- 16 Cambodia
- 17 Canada
- 18 Chile
- 19 China
- 20 Congo Democratic Republic of
- 21 Croatia
- 22 Czech Republic
- 23 Denmark
- 24 Egypt
- 25 Estonia
- 26 Ethiopia
- 27 Finland
- 28 France
- 29 Gabon
- 30 Georgia
- 31 Germany
- 32 Greece
- 33 Hungary
- 34 India
- 35 Indonesia
- 36 Iran
- 37 Iraq
- 38 Ireland
- 39 Israel
- 40 Italy
- 41 Japan
- 42 Jordan
- 43 Kenya
- 44 Kuwait
- 45 Malaysia
- 46 Mexico
- 47 Morocco
- 48 Namibia
- 49 Netherlands
- 50 New Zealand
- 51 Nigeria
- 52 Norway
- 53 Pakistan
- 54 Philippines
- 55 Poland
- 56 Portugal
- 57 Romania
- 58 Russia
- 59 Republic of Korea
- 60 Serbia
- 61 Slovakia
- 62 South Africa
- 63 Spain
- 64 Sri Lanka
- 65 Sweden
- 66 Switzerland
- 67 Turkey
- 68 Thailand
- 69 Ukraine
- 70 United Kingdom
- 71 United States
- 72 Venezuela
- 73 Vietnam
- 74 Zimbabwe
- 75 Non-combat special units
- 76 References
- 77 External links
NATO Allied Joint Publication (AJP) 3.5 defines special operations as "Special operations are military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment. These activities may be conducted across the full range of military operations, independently or with conventional forces, to help achieve the desired end-state. Politico-military considerations may require clandestine or covert techniques and the acceptance of a degree of political or military risk not associated with operations by conventional forces. Special Operations deliver strategic or operational-level results or are executed where significant political risk exists.'
The NATO-Russia Glossary of Contemporary Political and Military Terms does not contain any definition for special forces. It does have a definition for "special operations forces" and "special operations force":
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.
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.
In the book No Ordinary Men: Special Operations Forces Missions in Afghanistan by Colonel Bernd Horn defines SOF as below:
Organizations containing specially trained personnel that are organized, equipped and trained to conduct high-risk, high value, special operations to achieve military, political, economic, or international objectives by using special and unique operational methodologies in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive area to achieve desired tactical operational, and/or strategic effects in times of peace, conflict, or war.
These are distinct from special-purpose infantry units such as the Royal Marine Commandos.
Other potential sources of a good definition for special forces or special operations forces include the Department of Defense Dictionary (Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms) and the 24th Special Tactics Squadron memoir No Room for Error by Col. John T. Carney, and Benjamin F. Schemmer.
For other units, see:
- List of non-combat military special units
- List of defunct special forces units
- List of paratrooper forces
- List of marine forces
- List of special police units
- one spetsnaz regiment (Source IISS). A special forces presence was reported in the Russian-language internet at Nubarashen district, part of Yerevan, in 2012.
- Special Forces of Azerbaijan The Special Forces of Azerbaijan is a military unit of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was established in 1999 under the Ministry of Defense. Typically 30 out of 500 candidates earn the "Maroon beret" certificate.
- 1st Commando Regiment
- 2nd Commando Regiment
Incorporates the role of Tactical Assault Group (East)
- Special Air Service Regiment (SASR)
Incorporates the role of Tactical Assault Group (West)
- 1st Special Operations Task Group
- 2nd Special Operations Task Group
- 3rd Special Operations Task Group (Reserve)
- 5th Separate Spetsnaz Brigade
- 22nd Spetsnaz Company (Western Operational Command)
- 33rd Guards Spetsnaz Detachment
- 527th Spetsnaz Company
- Commando unit
- Brazilian Special Operations Brigade
- Brazilian Marine Corps
- Grupamento de Mergulhadores de Combate (GRUMEC)
- Bulgarian Land Forces
- Bulgarian Navy
- 63rd Naval Special Forces Reconnaissance Detachment "Black Sea Sharks"
- 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (427 SOAS)
- Canadian Special Operations Regiment
- Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2)
- Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU)
- Special Operations Battalion
- Special Forces Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion
Congo Democratic Republic of
- 391st Commando battalion URR
A brief from the Royal Danish Defence College listed two Danish special operations units:
Two other Danish units have some claim to special forces status. The Danish Home Guard's Special Support and Reconnaissance Company is capable of behind-the-lines stay-behind reconnaissance, similar to the Cold War role of the British 21 and 23 SAS Regiments. The Royal Danish Navy also maintains a unique ski patrol unit that conducts dog patrols of Greenland throughout the year. This unit, the Sirius Patrol, maintains a combat capability.
Sa'ka Forces Thunderbolt Forces
- Estonian Special Operations Force (ESTSOF)
- Agazi Commando Division
- 205th/206th Commando Brigade
- Anti-Terrorism Battalion
- ESOF(400 men detachment)
The conscript-training units Parachute Jaeger Company (Finnish: Laskuvarjojääkärikomppania) of Utti Jaeger Regiment, the Diver School (Finnish: Sukeltajakoulu) of the Coastal Brigade and the Special Border Jaeger Company (Finnish: Erikoisrajajääkärikomppania) of the Finnish Border Guard Border and Coast Guard School are called in common parlance special forces. While they are volunteer-only, they are not standing professional formations like the others mentioned, but units training conscripts to serve as reservists in special operations forces during a crisis.
- Armée de Terre (Army)
- Marine Nationale (Navy)
- Armée de l'Air (Air Force)
- Commandos Fusiliers Marins (COFUSMA)
- Presidential Guard Unit
- Special Operations Brigade
- 1st Special Operations Group
- Naval Group Special Operations
- Iverioni Mountain-Reconnaissance Battalion
- Support-Maintenance Battalion
- Luftwaffensicherungsstaffel S (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 33), Buchel Air Base
||This section includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
- HDF 34th Bercsényi László Special Forces Battalion
- HDF 25/88th Light Mixed Battalion
- HDF 5/24th 'Gergely Bornemissza' Reconnaissance Battalion
Main article: Special Forces of India
- Special forces Kopassus including counter-terrorism unit Detasemen Khusus 81 (Penanggulangan Teror) or Gultor
- Frogman Kopaska, reconnaissance battalion Taifib and counter-terrorism unit Denjaka which its personnel are recruited from both Kopaska and Taifib
The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Bureau reports to the Prime Minister directly. The Iraqi CTB oversees the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Command, a formation that includes all Iraqi Special Operations Forces (two brigades, according to the IISS 2013). As of 30 June 2009, there had been legislation in progress for a year to make the Iraqi CTB a separate ministry.
- 98th Paratroopers Division (Reserve)
- Sayeret Tzanhanim
- Sayeret Givati
- Sayeret Golani
- Sayeret Matkal
- Sayeret Yahalom
- Oketz Unit, canine special forces unit
- Alpinist Unit, mountain warfare unit
- LOTAR Eilat – counter-terrorism unit
- 9th Parachute Assault Regiment "Col Moschin" (Tier 1)
- 185th Reconnaissance Target Acquisition Regiment "Folgore" (Tier 2)
- 4th Alpini Parachutist Regiment (Tier 2)
- 3rd Special Operations Helicopter Regiment (Tier 2)
- Comando Subacquei ed Incursori (COMSUBIN) (Tier 1)
- GOI Gruppo Operativo Incursori (Operative Raiders Group)
- GOS Gruppo Operativo Subacquei (Operative Divers Group)
- Special Operations Regiment (Kenya)(SOR)
- 30th Special Forces Battalion (30SF)
- 40th Ranger Strike Force (40RSF)
- Kuwait 25th Commando Brigade
- One special forces unit [forming] (IISS Military Balance 2013)[verification needed]
- Nigerian Army Special Operations Command
- Nigerian Navy
- Special Boat Service
- Special Service Group (SSG)
- Special Response Force (SRF) was created in April 2012 to strengthen the security of strategic nuclear assets.
- Special Service Group Navy (SSGN)
- Special Service Wing (SSW)
- Wojska Specjalne
- Portuguese Marine Corps
- Sappers Divers Group
- Direcţia Generală de Informaţii a Apărării
- Romanian Land Forces:
- 2nd Special Purpose Brigade in Promezhitsa, Pskov Oblast
- 3rd Special Purpose Brigade in Tolyatti
- 10th Special Purpose Brigade in Mol'kino, Krasnoyarsk Territory
- 14th Special Purpose Brigade in Ussuriysk
- 16th Special Purpose Brigade in Tambov
- 22nd Special Purpose Guards Brigade in Stepnoi, Rostov Oblast
- 24th Special Purpose Brigade in Irkutsk
- Naval Special Operations Units
- 442nd Detached Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Point (omrpSpN – Pacific Fleet)
- 420th Detached Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Point (omrpSpN – Northern Fleet)
- 431st Detached Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Point (omrpSpN – Black Sea Fleet)
- 561st Detached Naval Reconnaissance Spetsnaz Point (omrpSpN – Baltic Fleet)
Republic of Korea
- Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command
- 1st Special Forces Brigade (Eagle)
- 3rd Special Forces Brigade (Flying Tiger)
- Oversea Deployment Group (Whole World) (Formerly 5th Special Mission Group 'Black Dragon')
- 7th Special Forces Brigade (Pegasus)
- 9th Special Forces Brigade (Ghost)
- 11th Special Forces Brigade (Golden Bat)
- 13th Special Forces Brigade (Black Panther)
- 707th Special Mission Battalion (White Tiger)
- Special Warfare Flotilla:
- 1st Battalion (main strike force divided into four specialized units)
- Special Warfare Squadron (SEAL)
- Underwater Demolition Team (UDT)
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team (EOD)
- Maritime Rescue/Counter Terrorism Unit (CT/VBSS)
- 3rd Battalion (Support)
- 5th Battalion (Support)
- 1st Battalion (main strike force divided into four specialized units)
- 5th Flotilla:
- 55th Salvage Squadron
- Ship Salvage Unit (SSU)
- 55th Salvage Squadron
- Combat Control Team (CCT)
- 6th Search and Rescue Group
- 233rd Rescue Battalion
- 235th Rescue Battalion
- Serbian Army
- Special Forces Brigade
- Defence Staff (Joint Operations Command)
- Special Operations Command (Army) (Mando de Operaciones Especiales (MOE))
- 2nd Special Operations Group "Granada"
- 3rd Special Operations Group "Valencia"
- 4th Special Operations Group "Tercio del Ampurdán"
- 19th Special Operations Group "Maderal Oleaga"
- Special Operations Command Headquarters Group
- Airborne Combat Parachute Engineers Squadron (Escuadrón de Zapadores Paracaidistas (EZAPAC))
- Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment
- Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment
Kommando Spezialkräfte KSK (Special Forces Command)
- Army Reconnaissance Detachment (ARD 10)
- Militärpolizei Spezialdetachement (Military Police Special Detachment)
- Grenadier Battalion 20
- Grenadier Battalion 30
- Grenadier Battalion 40 (Reserve)
- Fallschirmaufklärer Kompanie 17 (Parachute Reconnaissance Company 17)
- Combined Arms
- Special Operations Regiment
- Ministry of Internal Affairs units
- Omega: Stationed in Kyiv the unit has been active in the 2014 War in Donbass. Designed to combat terrorism, often works along with Vega special forces unit.
- Scorpion: Specializes in the defense of Ukraine's nuclear facilities
- Falcon: Stationed in Kyiv and designed to battle organized crime
- Griffin: Tasked with protecting courts, ensure the safety of judges
- Jaguar: Regiment tasked with stopping hooliganism, cease riots, suppressing riots in prisons.
- Titan: Ensuring the safety of foreign deputies, investigating fraud and counter-fitting rings.
- Vega: Combat terrorism, works closely with the Omega unit.
- Ministry of Defense Units
- Ukrainian Ground Forces units
- Ukrainian Navy units
- Security Service of Ukraine
- Special Air Service (S.A.S.)
- Special Reconnaissance Regiment
- 18 Signal Regiment (Royal Corps of Signals)
- Special Forces Support Group
- Royal Air Force/British Army
- Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing
- Delta Force (1st SFOD-D)
- 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24th STS)
- Intelligence Support Activity (ISA)
- Flight Concepts Division (FCD)
- Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six)
- 66 Air Operations Squadron (66 AOS)
- 427th Special Operations Squadron (427th SOS)
- United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne)
- 75th Ranger Regiment
- United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC)
- Naval Special Warfare Group 1: SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, 7
- Naval Special Warfare Group 2: SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, 10
- Naval Special Warfare Group 3: SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1
- Naval Special Warfare Group 4: Special Boat Teams 12, 20, 22
- Naval Special Warfare Group 10
- Naval Special Warfare Group 11: SEAL Teams 17, 18 (Reserves)
- Naval Special Warfare Center
- United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
- 1st Special Operations Wing
- 24th Special Operations Wing
- 27th Special Operations Wing
- 193d Special Operations Wing (ANG)
- 919th Special Operations Wing (AFRC)
- 352nd Special Operations Group
- 353rd Special Operations Group
- United States Air Force Special Operations Training Center
- Special Operations Air Group 10
- Special Operations Air Group 15
- Special Operations Air Group 17
Under the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army (Bộ Tổng Tham mưu Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam)
- Commando (Binh chủng Đặc công), including:
- Special reconnaissance (Trinh sát Đặc nhiệm): the reconnaissance force is not a separate branch, every armed branch has a reconnaissance team.
Non-combat special units
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.
- Australia: Special Operations Engineer Regiment
- Canada: Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU)
- United Kingdom: Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (Royal Navy, Naval Service)
- United States: Joint Special Operations Command
- United States: United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command
- Systems Integration Management Office (SIMO)
- Miscellaneous Notes
- ^ The Japanese Special Forces Group is the current name of the former Japanese Special Operations Group, following a name change.
- No Ordinary Men: Special Operations Forces Missions in Afghanistan by Colonel Bernd Horn
- Afghan National Army update, May 2011. The Long War Journal (2011-05-09). Retrieved on 2011-12-27.
- NPR: New Afghan Commandos Take to the Frontlines
- Afghan special forces expand to handle night raids, delicate missions, but training takes time. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2012-01-01.
- Army Special Forces Celebrate Years, 3 May 2007.
- IISS Military Balance 2013, p.215. See also http://desantura.ru/am/
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- Kutsunnat 2015. Special leaflet of te Ruotuväki magazine of the Finnish Defence Forces. Part of the issue number 13/2015. 2015-07-16. P. 9. (Finnish).
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- Greek Raiders, Special Weapons Magazine, October 2013
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