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SAS (R) To Merge?


Proposed defence spending cuts may result in the 2 reserve regiments of the Special Air Service (SAS(R)) being merged it has been reported.[1] The merging of 21 and 23 SAS may be a compromise measure to save one of the 2 units being axed completely. Senior members in the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) directorate heirachy reportedly refused a proposal from Army’s Land Forces HQ in Andover to lose one of the reserves regiments and instead a deal to merge the units has been reached.

Selection for SAS(R) is as tough as for 22 SAS and its soldiers receive much of the same training. In recent years SAS Reservists have operated in Afghanistan and have provided casualty replacements to 22 SAS.

It was reported in March[2] that British special forces may shrink by up to 40% under defence spending proposals. That report suggested that 21 and 23 SAS may be restructured into the Army Reserves, away from under the UKSF umbrella. This latest report indicates that merging the 2 territorial SAS units into one would allow a degree of costs savings, mostly due to the closure of TA bases, but still keep SAS(R) as part of UKSF.

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