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Director Special Forces (DSF) is the professional head of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) directorate which is a senior role within the Ministry of Defence (MoD).[1] As Director, the incumbent is responsible for the provision of special forces capability to MoD, Commands the UK Special Forces Group, and holds Operational Command for discrete Special Forces operations.

In March 1987, the UKSF was established that then consisted of the Army Special Air Service, Royal Marines Special Boat Service and Army 14 Intelligence Company under the command of the DSF, a rank of Brigadier, and with a Deputy, a rank of Colonel.[2][3][4] The directorate typically had an SAS Brigadier with an SBS colonel as a second-in-command.[3]

Prior to 1987, there had been a Director SAS who commanded the Special Air Service corps from 1969 that have evolved from Colonel SAS in 1964.[2]

During the 2000s, the size of the directorate increased substantially with the inclusion of the Special Forces Support Group, Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (formerly 14th Intel Coy). This was to meet a demand for a special reconnaissance capability identified in the Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter published in 2002 in response to the 2001 September 11 attacks.[5]

In 2008, the DSF was upgraded from a one star to two star level to a Major-General with the directorate becoming an independent, operational-level component command, alongside Air, Navy and Air elements in the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) and in the deployable Joint Task Force Headquarters.[6][4]


Commanders of special forces have been:[6]

Colonel SAS

Director SAS

Director Special Forces

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "How Defence Works" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Urban, Mark (1992). Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 9780571161126. 
  3. ^ a b Cucu, Dan (December 2004). Romanian Special Forces: Identifying appropriate missions and organizational structure (PDF) (Master's thesis). U.S. Navy Postgraduate School. OCLC 834274749. Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Davies, Andrew; Jennings, Peter; Scheer, Benjamin (2014). A Versatile Force: The Future of Australia's Special Operations Capability (PDF). Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Australian Strategic Policy Institute. ISBN 9781921302978. 
  5. ^ The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter (PDF). London: The Stationery Office. 18 July 2002. ISBN 0101556624. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Army Commands" (PDF). 26 July 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. 
  7. ^ *Kemp, Anthony (1994). The SAS: Savage Wars of Peace – 1947 to the Present. Penguin. p. 112. ISBN 0-14-139081-6. 
  8. ^ "Jordan, UK discuss military cooperation". Jordan Times. Retrieved 2016-12-22.