Special Operations Command (Australia)

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Special Operations Command
Active 2002—Present
Country  Australia
Role Special operations
Size 2,050 (Active)
750 (Reserve)
Part of Australian Defence Force
Headquarters location Potts Point, New South Wales
Motto Acies Acuta
(The Cutting Edge)
Major General Jeff Sengelman

The Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) is a command within the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Special Operations Command was established in May 2003, to unite all of the ADF special forces units. As of 2007, Special Operations Command was fully operational. Australia's Special Operations Command is of equivalent status to Australia's Maritime, Land and Air Commands. All of its constituent units are drawn from the Australian Army. It is modelled on the equivalent commands in the United States and British militaries.


A Special Operations Task Group patrol in Afghanistan in October 2009

While Special Operations Command had not formally commenced operations at the time, it appears that the headquarters may have overseen the boarding of the North Korean freighter MV Pong Su in April 2003, which involved elements of the both the SASR and 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Commando) Tactical Assault Groups.

In 2007, the APEC Summit hosted in Sydney had Special Operations Command involvement regarding security as world leaders, including John Howard, George W. Bush and other government and economic leaders were in attendance.


Order of battle[edit]

Soldiers from Special Operations Command during a media demonstration in May 2003

Special Operations Headquarters or SOHQ (Canberra and Sydney)

SOCOMD cooperates with and / or is supported by various services, units and commands from Australian Defence Force and Government (including ASIS). Its personnel have been supported by elements of the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force, including Navy Clearance Divers, in particular with TAG-E, RAAF Combat Control Teams, which are Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) qualified, and various other regular units.

Special Operations Commander Australia (SOCAUST)[edit]

The following have held the position of Special Operations Commander Australia, with the ranks and honours as at the completion of their tenure:

Rank Name Post-nominals Term began Term ended Time in appointment
Major General Lewis, DuncanDuncan Lewis DSCCSC May 2002 October 2004 2 years, 153 days
Major General Hindmarsh, MikeMike Hindmarsh AOCSC October 2004 February 2008 3 years, 123 days
Major General McOwan, TimTim McOwan DSCCSM February 2008 January 2011 2 years, 334 days
Major General Gilmore, GusGus Gilmore AODSC January 2011 September 2013 2 years, 243 days
Brigadier McDaniel, DanielDaniel McDaniel DSCDSM September 2013 December 2014 1 year,   91 days
Major General Sengelman, JeffJeff Sengelman DSCAMCSC December 2014 Incumbent 300 days days

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kuring 2004, p. 435.
  2. ^ Blaxland 2014, p. 328.
  3. ^ Epstein, Rafael; Welch, Dylan (13 March 2012). "Secret SAS Teams Hunt For Terrorists". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney: Fairfax Media). p. 1. ISSN 0312-6315. 


  • Blaxland, John (2014). The Australian Army from Whitlam to Howard. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107043657. 
  • Kuring, Ian (2004). Redcoats to Cams: A History of Australian Infantry 1788–2001. Loftus, New South Wales: Australian Military Historical Publications. ISBN 1876439998. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Senator Robert Hill, Minister for Defence (5 May 2003). "New Special Operations Command" (Press release). Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  • Senator Robert Hill, Minister for Defence (25 September 2003). "Defence Support To World Cup Security" (Press release). Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  • Senator Robert Hill, Minister for Defence (29 October 2005). "New Special Operations Commander Appointed" (Press release). Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 2 June 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  • Horner, David (2002). SAS: Phantoms of War. A History of the Australian Special Air Service (Second ed.). Sydney, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-647-9. 
  • Logue, Jason (8 May 2003). "Tartan TAG". Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1073 ed.) (Canberra: Department of Defence). ISSN 0729-5685. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  • Macklin, Robert (2015). Warrior Elite: Australia's Special Forces - From Z Force and the SAS to the Wars of the Future. Sydney, New South Wales: Hachette Australia. ISBN 9780733632914. 

External links[edit]