Directorate of Special Forces

UK Special Forces (UKSF) are a world class force capable of conducting short notice high risk operations in the most challenging environments around the world in support of UK interests and the safety and security of our people.

In order to maintain their ability to conduct these type of operations it is critical that the security of UKSF personnel, equipment and tactics, techniques and procedures are maintained. There are therfore strict rules on the publication of information relating to Special Forces which are described below.

If you have a question (including under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) relating to Special Forces please be aware that it is highly unlikely that the department will be able to provide any information in response.

If you intend to publish any information in any format (including on websites, blogs, social media etc) relating to the Special Forces you should seek the advice of the Defence & Security Media Advisory (DSMA) Committee who can be contacted via this link.

Government policy

It is HM Government policy not to comment, and to dissuade others from commenting or speculating, about the operational activities of Special Forces because of the security implications. To prevent inadvertent confirmation or otherwise of any information or assertion the approach has been to neither confirm nor deny, and to decline to comment when questions concerning Special Forces are posed.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000

The FoIA 2000 supports the principle of not commenting on Special Forces activity in a number of ways. There is an absolute exemption to the need to provide information supplied by, or relating to, Special Forces (Section 23). More widely defence information is exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the defence of the British Islands or of any colony, or the capability, effectiveness or security of any relevant forces including Special Forces (Section 26).

Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee

Under DSMA Notice 05 information about Special Forces is normally regarded as being highly classified. Such information, unless it has been the subject of an official announcement or has been widely disclosed or discussed, should not be published without first seeking advice from the DSMA Committee.