The Function of the Special Air Service Regiment



The Special Air Service is notorious for its counter-revolutionary warfare (CRW) wing as it conducts a wide range of missions. The main function of the SAS is to gather intelligence. They are often sent in to locations, prior to conflicts, by helicopter or parachute behind enemy lines and gather information on enemy locations, numbers and infrastructure.

They also train friendly foreign troops of other nations on body guarding duties and have been used to hunt war crime tyrants.

They protect British dignitaries and VIP's.

In conjunction with police forces, The SAS over see’s the Counter Terrorism inside the United Kingdom territory.

There have been many criticisms regarding the way the Special Air Services have been utilized in recent years, as they have been dispatched on squadron sized assaults of priority targets in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. This has been professed by some as a misuse of specialized troops, who are alleged to cost around 2.5 million dollars each to train, when regular infantry troops could have been employed. This has lead to the creation of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and Special Forces Support Group. These groups were created to maintain or capture some of the missions that the SAS had previously been tasked to do, which relieves the SAS to undertake missions in which they are trained for.

The misuse of the SAS particularly disappointing considering it is a mistake the military had made before. When the Special Air Service was first created during World War II it was, for a short period of time, renamed The Special Raiding Squadron, and used as an influential assault force until the military realized the mistake and reinstated them as the Special Air Service.

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The Command, Control and Organization of the SAS

The Special Air Service is considered a strategic asset as it functions under the control of the Operational Control (OPCON) of Director Special Forces.

The Special Air Serve Regiment is a unit of the British Army under the United Kingdom legal system. It authorizes the increase of military forces and includes three battalion sized units; the 22 SAS Regiment, a regular unit, the 21 SAS Regiment (originally the Artists Rifles) and the 23 SAS Regiment, which are reserve units. These Territorial Army (TA) units are known together as the Special Air Service Reserve (SASR).

The three regiments undertake different roles;

21 SAS initiates medium to deep battle space intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and offensive operations.

22 SAS is accountable for medium to deep battle space ISTAR and offensive operations, Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW), Counter Terrorism (CT), secure fortification and defense international relations.

23 SAS is responsible for medium and deep battle space ISTAR and offensive operations.

Each Regiment is made up of a number of “Sabre” Squadrons. They are called ‘Sabre’ Squadrons to distinguish between the operational squadrons and the administrative or headquarter squadrons. Each has the supporting functions being undertaken within 22 SAS Regiment which is divided into four 16 man troops; the Air Troop, the Boat Troop, the Mobility Troop and the Mountain Troop. Each troop has a different function.

In west England, the SAS were based at Hereford, Herefordshire. Stirling Lines, named after David Stirling (formerly known as Bradley Lines) was initially the home base, however; in 1999 they moved to the former RAF station Credenhill.