List of military special forces units

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This is a list of military special forces units, also known as special operations forces (SOF), currently active with countries around the world, that are specially organised, trained and equipped to conduct special operations.

These are distinct from special-purpose infantry units, such as the Royal Marine Commandos, found on the list of commando units.

Definitions[edit]

NATO currently defines "special operations" as:

Military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment.[1][2]

In 2001, NATO agreed to the Russian definitions of special operations and special operations forces:[3]

special operations military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained and equipped forces using operational techniques and modes of employment not standard to conventional forces. These activities are conducted across the full range of military operations independently or in coordination with operations of conventional forces to achieve political, military, psychological and economic objectives. Politico-military considerations may require clandestine, covert or discreet techniques and the acceptance of a degree of physical and political risk not associated with conventional operations.[4]

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.[4]

The United States definition of special operations is:

Operations requiring unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, equipment and training often conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and characterized by one or more of the following: time sensitive, clandestine, low visibility, conducted with and/or through indigenous forces, requiring regional expertise, and/or a high degree of risk.[5]

The Canadian definition of special operations forces is:

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.[6][7]

Afghanistan[edit]

Afghan National Army Special Forces Command (ANASOC)[8]

Afghanistan National Directorate of Security (NDS)

  • Quick Reaction Force (QRF)[16]

Albania[edit]

Albanian Armed Forces

Algeria[edit]

Special forces of Algeria

Algerian Land Forces (CFT)

Algerian Navy (AN)

Algerian Republican Guard (GR)

Angola[edit]

Angolan Armed Forces

Argentina[edit]

Argentine Army[23]

Argentine Navy

Armenia[edit]

Armenian Army

Australia[edit]

Special forces of Australia

Australian Army

Royal Australian Air Force

Royal Australian Navy

Austria[edit]

Austrian Army

Azerbaijan[edit]

Azerbaijani Armed Forces

Bangladesh[edit]

Bangladesh special operations forces

Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

Bangladesh Army

Bangladesh Navy

Belarus[edit]

Special Forces of Belarus

Special Operations Forces Command[42][43]

State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus

Belgium[edit]

Belgian Land Component

Botswana[edit]

Brazil[edit]

Brazilian Army

Brazilian Air Force

Brazilian Navy

Brunei[edit]

Bulgaria[edit]

Burundi[edit]

Cambodia[edit]

Canada[edit]

Special Operations Forces Command[61]

Chile[edit]

China - PRC[edit]

People's Liberation Army Special Operations Forces

People's Liberation Army Ground Force

People's Liberation Army Navy[74]

Colombia[edit]

Comando Conjunto de Operaciones Especiales (CCOES - Joint Special Operations Command) (Army, Navy and Air force)

Congo - DRC[edit]

  • 391st Commando battalion URR[76]

Croatia[edit]

Special Operations Command (Croatia)

Cuba[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

Ředitelství speciálních sil[77][citation needed]

Denmark[edit]

Special Operations Command (SOKOM)

Danish Home Guard

Ecuador[edit]

Ecuadorain Army

El Salvador[edit]

Special Operations Command (CFE)[81]

Egypt[edit]

Sa'ka Forces Thunderbolt Forces - various commando forces with numerous units including:

Estonia[edit]

Estonian Special Operations Force[84] (ESTSOF)

Ethiopia[edit]

  • Agazi Commando Division[85]

Finland[edit]

Finnish Army:

Finnish Navy:

  • Special Action Detachment of Coastal Brigade[86]

France[edit]

Special Operations Command

Directorate-General for External Security

Georgia[edit]

Defense Forces

Germany[edit]

German Army

German Air Force

German Navy

Greece[edit]

Hellenic Army

Hellenic Air Force

Hellenic Navy

Hungary[edit]

India[edit]

Special Forces of India

Armed Forces Special Operations Division

Indonesia[edit]

Indonesian Army

Indonesian Navy

Indonesian Air Force

Iran[edit]

Special forces of Iran

Islamic Republic of Iran Army

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Iraq[edit]

Iraqi Special Operations Forces

Ireland[edit]

Irish Army

Israel[edit]

Military Intelligence Directorate

Israeli Army

Israeli Navy

Israeli Air and Space Force

  • Unit 5101 - Shaldag (Special Air-Ground Designating Team )[125]
  • Unit 669 - Combat Search and Rescue and Airborne Medical Evacuation Unit

Italy[edit]

Italian special forces

Italian Army

Italian Navy

Italian Air Force

Carabinieri

Japan[edit]

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Jordan[edit]

Joint Special Operations Command

  • Special Forces Group[135] - "King Abdulah II"

Kenya[edit]

Korea, North - DPRK[edit]

Korean People's Army Special Operation Force[137]

Korea, South - ROK[edit]

Republic of Korea Army

Republic of Korea Navy[139]

Republic of Korea Marine Corps

Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic

Latvia[edit]

Latvian National Armed Forces

Lebanon[edit]

Special Operations Command[141]

Lebanese Ground Forces

Lebanese Navy

Lebanese Air Force

Lithuania[edit]

Malaysia[edit]

Malaysian Army

Royal Malaysian Air Force

Royal Malaysian Navy

Maldives[edit]

Malta[edit]

Mexico[edit]

Mexican Special Forces

Montenegro[edit]

  • Special Forces Company[156]

Namibia[edit]

Namibian Special Forces

Netherlands[edit]

Netherlands Special Operations Command (NLD SOCOM):[157]

New Zealand[edit]

Special Operations Command

Nigeria[edit]

Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF)[161]

Nigerian Navy

  • Special Boat Service[162]

North Macedonia[edit]

Army of the Republic of Macedonia

Norway[edit]

Norwegian Special Operation Forces (NORSOF)[164]

Oman[edit]

Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan Army

Pakistan Navy

Pakistan Air Force

Paraguay[edit]

Paraguayan Armed Force

  • Special Forces Battalion - (Batallón Conjunto de Fuerzas Especiales)[168]

Peru[edit]

Peruvian Armed Forces

Philippines[edit]

Armed Forces of the Philippines
Special Operations Command (Philippines)

Poland[edit]

Special Troops Command[188]

Portugal[edit]

Portuguese Army

Portuguese Navy

Portuguese Air Force

Romania[edit]

Ministry of Defense

Rwanda[edit]

Rwanda Defence Force

  • Special Forces Brigade[196]

Russia[edit]

Spetsnaz

Special Operations Forces Command[197]

  • Special Operations Forces[197][198]
    • Special Purpose Center "Senezh"
    • Special Purpose Center "Kubinka-2"
    • 561st Naval Rescue Center
    • 344th Army Aviation Combat Center
    • Special Purpose Center "Terskol"
    • 54th Special Reconnaissance Center

Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)

National Guard of Russia[202]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Royal Saudi Navy

Saudi Arabian Army

  • 64th Special Forces Brigade[204]

Serbia[edit]

Special forces of Serbia

Serbian Army

Singapore[edit]

Special Operations Task Force[207]

Slovakia[edit]

Slovak Armed Forces

Slovenia[edit]

South Africa[edit]

South African National Defence Force

Spain[edit]

Defence Staff (Joint Operations Command)

Spanish Army

Spanish Navy

Sri Lanka[edit]

Army

Navy

Air Force

Sweden[edit]

Swedish Armed Forces

Swedish Army

Swedish Air Force

Swedish Navy

Switzerland[edit]

Special Forces Command (KSK)[219][220][221]

Syria[edit]

Special Forces Command[222]

Taiwan - ROC[edit]

Republic of China Army

Republic of China Military Police

Republic of China Marine Corps

Coast Guard Administration

Thailand[edit]

Royal Thai Army

Royal Thai Navy

Royal Thai Air Force

Tunisia[edit]

Tunisian Army

  • Special Forces Group (GFS)[233]
    • Military Intervention Group (GIM)[234]

Tunisian Air Force

  • Special Air Regiment (RCA)[235]

Tunisian Navy

  • 51st Regiment Marine Corps (RMC)[236]
  • 52nd Regiment Marine Commandos (RMC)[236]

Turkey[edit]

Combined Arms

Turkish Armed Forces

Northern Cyprus

Ukraine[edit]

The Special Operations Forces with headquarters in Kyiv.

United Kingdom[edit]

United Kingdom Special Forces

British Army

Royal Air Force/British Army

Royal Navy

United States[edit]

United States special operations forces

Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)

Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)[267]

Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC)[267]

Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)[267]

Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC)[267]

Coast Guard Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF)[271]

Venezuela[edit]

Venezuelan Air Force

  • Special Operations Air Group 10[272]
  • Special Operations Air Group 15[272]
  • Special Operations Air Group 17[272]

Vietnam[edit]

Under the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army

Zimbabwe[edit]

Zimbabwe National Army

See also[edit]

Lists of similar military units[edit]

Notes[edit]

Miscellaneous Notes

  1. ^ The Clearance Diving Branch does not have a dedicated special operations role as they also include clearance diving roles.
  2. ^ The Japanese Special Forces Group is the current name of the former Japanese Special Operations Group, following a name change.

References[edit]

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