King's College London

Research portal

Special Operations Command: Leadership and Ethics Review: Annex A to Chapter 3.03 of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report

Research output: Other contribution

Original languageEnglish
TypeGovernment Inquiry
Media of outputPrint and Online
PublisherCommonwealth of Australia
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)ISSN2207-6050
ISBN (Electronic)ISSN2207-6069
Published19 Nov 2020

King's Authors


This review (found at Annex A of the full report) into the leadership and ethics of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) personnel during the period 2007 to 2014 draws a picture of a gradual erosion of standards over time resulting in a culture within which, ultimately, war crimes were tolerated. This was contributed to by: the character and tempo of the deployments (and redeployments); inadequate training and support; inappropriate metrics of success imposed from above warping behaviour within the Special Forces (SF) Task Group; a lack of clarity about purpose and gradual loss of confidence in both the mission and the higher chain of command; a fractured, compartmentalised and dysfunctional leadership, and; a general lack of effective oversight aided and abetted by the very people who should have been providing it. This combination of factors led to a normalisation over time of behaviours that should never have been considered normal and ultimately, the effective covering up of, or wilful blindness to, the perpetration of war crimes by some soldiers.

Due to this report being narrow in focus, it should be read alongside and understood within the context of the full Inquiry Report by MAJGEN Paul Brereton.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454