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11 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World

In this article, we look at the 11 countries with the best military special forces in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis on the most formidable and well-trained units a country can boast and head over directly to the 5 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World.

The concept of special forces varies among different countries. While some view them as elite soldiers of the military, others consider the forces as special units of the armed forces tasked to perform specialized operations. Irrespective of how their roles are interpreted, the special forces are made up of the finest soldiers recruited from across the country.

What makes these soldiers special is their level of training and personality traits such as strong mentality and bravery. They are also equipped with state-of-the-art military hardware that allows them to dominate the battlefield and overcome challenging scenarios that come in their way. For instance, according to an analysis on Business Insider, weapons and gear the US military special forces head to the field with include assault rifles such as the M4A1 and MK18, the MK46 and MK48 machine guns, as well as other vital equipment like night-vision goggles, first aid kits, GPS devices, ballistic helmets, and belts. It is common for these troops to carry grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles as well if they need to.

The FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, jointly developed by Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) and RTX Corporation (NYSE:RTX), had been deployed extensively by the United States in its combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The American forces had experienced over 5,000 engagements with this weapon system during the war in these two countries, as noted by defense news website, Army Technology.

More than 45,000 units of these portable and platform-employed anti tank missiles had been produced until 2019 by these companies since its first launch in 1996. While RTX Corporation (NYSE:RTX) builds the command launch unit (CLU), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) shoulders the responsibility of assembling the missile itself.

Javelin is being widely used by the Ukrainian military as well to repulse Russian invasion of their country. According to a report, as of late August 2023, the US had provided over 10,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles to Kyiv, which has helped Ukraine in keeping Russia at bay from the capital. Owing to the demand for this weapon, both Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) and RTX Corporation (NYSE:RTX) have been taking measures to increase Javelin production from 2,000 units to 3,500 per year.

On the other hand, the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) is a key weapon in the Delta Force arsenal that is enhancing the operational effectiveness of the elite group. Launched to enter service in 2013, the MSR has a firing range of 4,920 feet and a rate of 12 shots per minute. The sniper has also received acclaim from defense experts for its modularity that allows users customizable configurations of the equipment. In 2013, each unit cost around $15,000, according to a report.

Moreover, large defense sector corporations also offer tactical and strategic support to the special forces. General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD)’s information technology unit in 2016 was awarded a contract to provide professional support services to the American special operation forces in carrying out their global missions. Under the agreement, General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) was to provide infinite delivery of services for an indefinite time period, with a maximum ceiling of $900 million over five years. General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) is the sixth largest defense contractor in the world, and posted its highest-ever revenue of $42.3 billion last year. You can read more on this in our article on the Top 20 Defense Contractors in 2024.

11 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World
11 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World

Copyright: zabelin / 123RF Stock Photo

Methodology

The 11 countries with the best military special forces in the world are ranked based on a consensus method, where we analyzed three sources – The Independent, The Times of India, and Forces.net. While the first source ranked various special forces (out of 8) on their capabilities, the other two websites discussed these units without ranking them.

In the first case, we observed where each unit ranked and assigned scores to the country, depending on where its special forces group (s) ranked. For instance, if a country ranked first, it received a score of 1 (8/8); if it was third, it received 0.75 (6/8). For the remaining two sources, we counted the number of times a military special forces group was mentioned on these websites and assigned a score of 1 for each time they received a mention. Finally all scores were aggregated to get an overall score. Countries with the best military forces in the world are ranked in ascending order of their overall scores. In cases where two or more countries had the same score, we outranked one over the other on the battle-hardness of their special forces.

If interested, you can also take a look at the 15 Countries with the Most Reserve Military Manpower in the World.

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that uses a consensus approach to identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The website tracks the movement of corporate insiders and hedge funds. Our top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). So, if you are looking for the best stock picks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders.

Let’s now head over to the list of countries with the best military special forces.

Top 11 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World:

11. Fuerza de Guerra Naval Especial

Country: Spain

Score: 0.25

Spain, with its Unidad de Operaciones Especiales, has one of the best military special forces in the world. Since June 2009, the group has been absorbed into the Fuerza de Guerra Naval Especial, or Special Naval Warfare Force, which has inherited its reputation. What started off in 1952 as the Amphibious Climbing Company has grown into being among the most respected special forces in Europe. According to The Independent, the force has a rejection rate of around 80%. 

10. MARCOS

Country: India

Score: 1.00

India finds itself among countries with the best military special forces in the world, with three special forces that are controlled by the military. These include the Army’s Paratrooper Special Forces, Navy’s MARCOS, and the Air Force’s Garud Commando Force. The Marine Commandos, abbreviated as MARCOS, are the most widely acclaimed special forces group in the country. According to The Times of India, it takes about three years of rigorous training before soldiers could become a part of this special unit. MARCOS is capable of operations at sea, land, and air.

9. Kommando Spezialkräfte

Country: Germany

Score: 1.00

Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) is the elite special force of the Bundeswehr — the German military. It is a large brigade-level unit, that is tasked with performing a wide range of operations as required related to counter-terrorism, commando warfare, and search and rescue. However, like all other Germany units, KSK's deployments have to be authorized by the German parliament. The unit carried out several successful operations during the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, including a raid on an Al Qaeda safehouse in 2006. Germany also has another top special services group in GSG 9 der Bundespolizei, which is the special forces unit of the German Police, and plays an active role in combating terrorism and organized crime. Primarily due to these two agencies, Germany finds itself in the list of countries with the best military special forces in the world.

8. Joint Task Force 2 (JST2)

Country: Canada

Score: 2.00

The Joint Task Force 2 (JST2) is an elite, tier 1 special forces group of the Canadian military, and serves under the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. The unit is tasked with working on counter-terrorism missions, both at home and abroad, and has come to be recognized as a world-class special force. The JST2 is known to collaborate closely with the Delta Force in the US and Britain’s Special Air Service (SAS) in missions of common interest.

7. GROM Military Unit

Country: Poland

Score: 2.00

Poland’s GROM Military Unit is one of the best military special forces in the world. It is a top-tier special forces unit that can be compared with the best of the best. The group was formed in 1990 as part of a mission to help Soviet Jews enter Israel safely amid resistance from Hezbollah. These days, GROM is a highly-capable anti-terrorism unit, which has successfully undertaken several missions at home and overseas. One of its most notable operations was the rescue of hostages after terrorists took control of a government building in Paktia, Afghanistan in 2012. 

6. Special Services Group (SSG)

Country: Pakistan

Score: 2.00

Pakistan’s Special Services Group, or SSG, is one of the best military special forces units in the world. The unit is also known as the Black Storks, due to the unique headgear worn by its commandos. The Independent and Force.net have both highlighted that SSG’s training involves a 36-mile march in 12 hours, as well as a 5-mile sprint in just 20 minutes, while only 5% of those who enter training pass out upon completion of the course. The SSG is a battle-hardened force that is undertaken some of the most complex missions during Pakistan's war against militant groups in the country's tribal north and come out successful. 

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World.

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Disclosure: None. 11 Countries with the Best Military Special Forces in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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