The KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command, KSK) are elite squads of Germany's Special Forces division from the German Army, Bundeswehr. Organized under the Special Operations Division (Div. Spezielle Operationen, DSO), it is closely modeled on the British Special Air Service (SAS) and the (US SOF) United States Special Forces from the US Army. Currently the german KSK is considered to be among the top 5 best Special Forces in the world and has received many condecorations and awards from NATO and the US Army. As a result, the US Army often requests for joint co-operations of American and German elite units in special anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East and abroad.
After Second World War and prior to KSK’s formation in 1996, Germany, and its predecessor West Germany, placed less emphasis on special operations beyond the actual counter-terrorist intelligence police unit GSG 9. At the time, the airborne brigade commandos and Fernspäher companies were the only army units comparable to Special Forces (the german navy already had its Kampfschwimmer elite company for years). All the early specialised army units except for one Fernspähkompanie have been disbanded or merged into the KSK since its activation on April 1, 1997.
Like all German military units, KSK deployments requires parliamentary German Federal Government authorization, German Federal Government, providing evidence of overseas covert anti-terrorist operations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia and Afghanistan among many other countries. Specific operational details, like success or casualty rates, are top secret and withheld even from members of parliament. This practice drew heavy criticism, resulting in plans now that increase transparency, accountability and open-ness to the intelligence kommandos by relaying mission details to selected members of the Bundestag.