Australia’s Special Forces have long been objects of fascination, but there is no clearly documented description of the operational art and science of this unique military capability, argues this report.
Australian Special Operations and the performance of our Special Forces have long been objects of fascination to many. Yet despite this interest and the proven utility of Special Forces especially since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001 and the Bali terrorist attacks on Australians in 2002, Special Forces (unlike Land, Maritime, and Air Forces) have not been defined by a universally accepted theory of employment. This paper seeks to aid military planners by explaining the principles and considerations for the employment of Australian Special Forces. In an age of persistent conflict, where the utility of military force is judged on the ability to consistently 'overmatch' an adversary as well as solve complex problems, military commanders and planners must continue to embrace the enduring need to continually transform Special Operations capabilities, whilst at the same time protect those immutable core values, premises and employment principles that define it's culture and organisation.