Elite Warriors Special Operations Forces From Around the World

Editor(s): Ruslan Pukhov, Christopher Marsh
Pages: 263
Publication Year: 2017
  • $39.95
ISBN: 9781879944992
  • $199.95
ISBN:  9781879944985
  • $39.95
ISBN: 9787879944985
Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World is the latest book from the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a Moscow-based think tank focused on military and security issues. Presenting a collection of essays by leading military and security analysts, Elite Warriors offers a detailed assessment of the organization and capabilities of a selection of special operations forces from around the world. Including countries such as China, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine, Elite Warriors gives a comprehensive breakdown of the current composition, roles and chain of command of the various types of elite forces within each country. Also included are details concerning personnel recruitment and training, weapons and gear, brief histories and select combat records. Elite Warriors is an ideal reference for anyone interested in the unique role that these special forces play in their respective countries.

Full list of countries featured in Elite Warriors:

  • Algeria
  • China
  • Colombia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jordan
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

Ruslan Pukhov is the cofounder and director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a private Moscow-based think tank, founded in 1997. Pukhov graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in 1996 and attended the French-Russian Master d’Etudes Internationales Sciences Po as a postgraduate student in 1996-1997, while serving as a researcher for the Conventional Arms Project (PIR Center). Pukhov has been a member of the Public Advisory Board of the Russian Defense Ministry since 2007. He has published numerous op-eds in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Vedomosti newspapers, and he has given speeches at internationally recognized think tanks, including the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI).

Dr. Christopher Marsh is editor of Special Operations Journal and a professor of national security and strategic studies at the US Army’s elite School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is a subject matter expert in the field of special operations and Russian military and defense issues, and has consulted for numerous agencies in both the intelligence and defense sectors, including the Pentagon and USSOCOM. His latest publications include Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors, with Nikolas Gvosdev of the US Naval War College, and Developments in Russian Special Operations: Spetsnaz, SOF, and Special Operations Forces Command. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Connecticut in 1998 and did post-doctoral work at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Christopher Marsh

Russian Military Special Forces
Alexey Ramm

Russian Special Operations Forces: Eight Years and Three Wars

Alexey Nikolsky

Ukrainian Special Operations Forces
Anton Lavrov

French Special Operations Forces

Ruslan Pukhov

German Special Forces
Sergey Denisentsev

Italian Special Operations Forces

Mikhail Barabanov

Polish Special Forces

Ruslan Pukhov

Iranian Special Forces

Yuri Liamin

Israeli Special Forces

Mikhail Barabanov

Jordanian Joint Special Operations Command

Maxim Shepovalenko

From Akinjis to Maroon Berets: An Assessment of the Turkish Special Forces Command and Other Elite Units in Turkey

Metin Gurcan and Alexander Vasilyev

Chinese Special Operations Forces

Vasiliy Kashin

At the Edges of a Spear’s Tip: Singapore’s Special Operations Task Force

Graham Ong-Webb

Colombian Special Operations Forces
Nikita Lomov

Algerian Special Operations Forces

Akram Kharief


Henry Foy, Financial Times

Elite Warriors, edited by Ruslan Pukhov and Christopher Marsh
An analysis of the world's special forces and their role in the future of warfare

Moscow, a city of monuments, plaques and commemorations, has a new statue. A short walk from memorials to Alexander Pushkin and Sergei Rachmaninoff, and clutching the assault rifle that bears his name, a bronze Mikhail Kalashnikov rises 30 feet above the city.

The statue of a man whose AK-47 rifle kills an estimated 250,000 people each year has caused controversy among Muscovites who prefer the country’s poets, playwrights and composers along their commute.

But Kalashnikov, a former tank commander honoured by Joseph Stalin for designing the AK-47 as a solution to complaints from Red Army soldiers about their guns, is an apt memorial to the belligerent Russia of past conflicts. Today, battalions of thousands of men armed with mass-produced rifles are out; shadowy special forces are very much in.

Ripe time, then, for Elite Warriors, a book that sets out to profile 14 of the world’s special forces, while proposing that the future of warfare will revolve around these units.

Continue reading the review on ft.com

Dave Majumdar, The National Interest

The Best (Non-American) Special Forces on Earth

Edited by Ruslan Pukhov and Christopher Marsh, Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World is an excellent, methodically researched study of various special mission units from around the globe. While information about well-known American and British special operations forces such as the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force, the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six or the UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) units is fairly commonplace, researchers at Russia’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) have assembled detailed profiles of foreign units from Russia, Ukraine China and others that cannot be found anywhere else....

The book fulfills its mission to fill the “gap by covering the history and current operating environment of the special operations forces of fourteen countries of the world, including many that have tended to get less attention in the English language media, such as Algeria, Italy, and Poland, for example,” as Marsh writes. Indeed, some of the best and most detailed chapters in the book are on foreign special operations forces familiar only to dedicated regional specialists....

Overall, Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World is an exceptionally well-researched booked and forms a valuable resource for scholars studying special operations forces—particularly those that are not of American or British origin. Each one of the chapters—which are essentially stand alone research papers—offer detailed analyses of various nations’ forces—often with details not found anywhere else. Scholars in Washington will find the sections on Russia, Ukraine, Iran and China to be particularly useful.

Read the full review on The National Interest

Matthew Bodner, Defense News

‘Elite Warriors’: A refreshingly Eastern perspective on special forces

MOSCOW — Advocates of nuclear weapons like to play up their peacekeeping utility. Often they will point out that there has not been a major war between great powers since the end of World War II. But as history has shown, conflict remains a regular facet of international relations. Only the means of conflict have changed; and since the 1980s, this process has accelerated.

A new book authored by experts from the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, or CAST, titled Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces From Around the World, explores one of these key changing aspects of modern war: the proliferation of special operations forces by major and minor powers across the globe.

Elite Warriors represents one of CAST’s broadest analytical efforts to date and one of the first such studies dedicated to special operations forces. Previously, CAST’s outfit of military and political analysts in Russia have focused on single-issue topics, as seen in their book “Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine,” as well as the China-focused “Red Star Rising.”

... Of particular interest to American readers, given CAST’s status as a leading Russian military affairs think tank, are the two chapters detailing the development of modern Russian special operations forces. Russia’s development of its modern special operations forces is a key example of states mimicking the development of U.S. special forces since the 1980s.

... Overall, these two chapters present possibly the best English-language overview of Russia’s special forces units today.

The remainder of the book provides no less rigorous overviews of various national special forces efforts. It is always worth reading the works of Russian scholars on nations such as Iran, for example, with which Moscow is generally more familiar than Western scholars. Ultimately, the value in Elite Warriors is for reference and support for further research efforts.

Read the full review on Defense News

Bruce McClintock, Joint Force Quarterly

…In Elite Warriors, Ruslan Pukhov and Christopher Marsh aim to provide accessible, high-quality comparative research on the elite SOF of 14 countries. They achieve some of their lofty objectives and add value to the important field of literature on special operations. …

The strength of Elite Warriors is the variety of authors and their use of native-language sources, often from mass media and generally current, as well as other authoritative material. The generous use of footnotes makes the book a worthwhile resource for those who want a guide to other useful material…. [T]he material in Elite Warriors is valuable and the book is an ideal primer for someone without a background in special operations who wants to learn the basics about foreign military elites and have a guide to other useful sources.

Read the full review on Joint Force Quarterly