United Kingdom Special Forces

The United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) is a Ministry of Defence directorate that provides a joint special operations task force headquarters. Director Special Forces appears to command 22 Special Air Service Regiment, the Special Boat Service, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, the Special Forces Support Group, 18 Signal Regiment and the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.[2][3][4][5][6]

United Kingdom Special Forces
Active1987 (1987) – present
Country United Kingdom
BranchBritish Armed Forces
Size2,000 personnel (2009)[1]
Part ofJoint Forces Command
HeadquartersPermanent Joint Headquarters, Northwood Headquarters
WebsiteDirectorate of Special Forces at gov.uk
General Mark Carleton-Smith


In 1987 the post of Director SAS became Director Special Forces.

The incumbent from that point had control of both the Army's Special Air Service and the Naval Service's Special Boat Squadron, which was renamed the Special Boat Service during the formation, into a unified command. The directorate has been expanded by the creation of the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, 18 Signal Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group. Approximately 40% of all UK Special Forces are recruited from the Royal Marines.[7]

Following the Army 2020 reforms, the 21st Special Air Service Regiment and 23rd Special Air Service Regiment were moved from DSF's command to 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade in 2014.[8][9]

Component units

The following units are part of UK Special Forces and UK Special Forces (Reserve).

See also


  1. "SAS and other special forces to be expanded to defeat al-Qaeda". the telegraph. 25 April 2009.
  2. Special Reconnaissance Regiment, publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2014
  3. Elite special forces unit set up, BBC. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  4. "JSFAW - Responsibilities and Composition". Royal Air Force. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014.
  5. "SAS(R)". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 2018-01-02.
  6. "The secretive sister of the SAS". BBC. 16 November 2001. Retrieved 10 March 2010. (SBS)
  7. http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/-/media/careers-section-redesign/pdfs/20151027-_440-rm-career-guide-2015-r---specialisms.pdf?la=en-gb, page 78
  8. Janes International Defence Review, May 2014, page 4
  9. Army Briefing Note 120/14, NEWLY FORMED FORCE TROOPS COMMAND SPECIALIST BRIGADES, Quote . It commands all of the Army’s Intelligence, Surveillance and EW assets, and is made up of units specifically from the former 1 MI Bde and 1 Arty Bde, as well as 14 Sig Regt, 21 and 23 SAS(R).
  10. "Special Boat Service (Reserve)". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  11. Overstretched SAS calls up part-time troops for Afghanistan, www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2014
  12. "PLG Directive 73/07 Part 8, Restricted files - Administration Guide" (PDF). Veterans UK. Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA). December 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2014.
  13. Ripley, Tim (November 2015). "Order of Battle; Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing - The Royal Air Force in 2015 (Supplement)". AirForces monthly - Officially The World's Number One Military Aviation Magazine. No. 332. Bourne, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing Ltd. pp. 12, 14. ISSN 0955-7091.
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