Special Operations Command

Special Operations Command logo


Innovative and Agile.


The Special Operations Command (SOC) was a long-held aspiration of NZSAS Commanding Officers who were aware of the need for a Headquarters element to be established in order to reduce the operational and strategic burden on their command. After promotion of the concept of a strategic-level special operations headquarters situated within Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force (HQNZDF) in Wellington, the Directorate of  Special Operations (DSO) was established by Chief of Defence Force Directive on 25 August 2008. The Directorate was reorganised into the Special Operations Command on 1 July 2015. The originating concept for this strategic headquarters came from similar arrangements in place within the Five-Eyes (FVEY)1 Special Operations Forces community.


The Command coordinates and manages New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces on behalf of the Chief of Defence Force. It works at the strategic level to support command and decision making on the training, development, interoperability and deployment of New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces, up to the highest levels of the New Zealand Defence Force and Government, as appropriate.

The Special Operations Component Commander (an NZSAS Colonel) exercises full command over all New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces.

Command Elements

Command elements include:

  • Headquarters
  • Operations and Plans
  • Capability and Procurement
  • Force Development
  • Liaison Officers


The Command insignia was developed by then DSO staff in consultation with key New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces stakeholders, and was approved by COL Jim Blackwell, ONZM in early 2011. The design uses a black and silver motif to match the national colours of New Zealand. It displays the sword Excalibur in the same fashion as the NZSAS badge, but replaces the traditional wings with silver fern leaves. In doing so it acknowledges both its national heritage and its kinship to the NZSAS. The motto, ‘Innovative and Agile’, emphasises two of the key attributes of New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces and embodies the Chief of Defence Force’s intent for the future-focused New Zealand Defence Force.

1 FVEY countries are: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America
This page was last reviewed on 6 October 2016.