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Forsvarets Spesialkommando
FSK-HJK-logo.gif
Forsvarets Spesialkommando Insignia
Active 1982- current
Country Norway Norway
Branch Not assigned
Type Special operations forces
Role Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance (SR)
Direct Action (DA)
Military assistance (MA)
Collateral Activities (CA)
Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR)
Size Classified
Garrison/HQ Rena leir
Engagements Cold war
Bosnian war
Kosovo war
2001 Macedonia conflict
Operation Essential Harvest[1]
Operation Enduring Freedom

Operation Anaconda
Operation Jacana
Uzbin Valley ambush (after action only)
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon  Army Presidential Unit Citation

Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK, en. Armed Forces' Special Command) is a special operations forces unit of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. The unit was established in 1982[2] due to the increased risk of terrorist activity against Norwegian interests, including[3] the oil platforms in the North Sea.

IntroductionEdit

Very little is known about the FSK since the Norwegian government for a long time denied their existence and have not mentioned their participation in any military operation. Some details have however emerged after the FSKs participation in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The establishment of FSK was briefly mentioned in an article in the Norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten, in 1983. During a hijacking in Norway in 1985, it was reported that FSK operatives had been put on alert in the town of Trandum, but not requested to assist in any action. A proposal to disband the FSK in 1988, as a financial measure, was met with protests, especially from the oil industry and the military. The plan was shelved after much media attention. Aftenposten reported that: "special military command composed of highly trained operatives from the Paratrooper School at Trandum and the Naval School. Also some other units with special training associated the squad. The crew has experience and has been with the military for several years as contract officers."

The first time FSK was publicly mentioned by a representative of the Armed Forces, was in connection with the hijacking of SAS Flight 347 at Gardemoen Airport in September 1993. The following year the magazine Vi Menn published an article about the FSK. In 1990 the FSK was also mentioned in a research paper: "The Armed Forces' Special Command (FSK) is specially trained to approach in the event of terrorist attacks against oil installations - especially hijacking situations." The FSK's existence was only publicly acknowledged by the Norwegian Armed Forces for the first time in 1999.

The size of force is classified with different sources claiming anywhere from 80 to 200 soldiers. The Army Special Forces command includes the FSK and the Army Rangers HJK. Currently anyone who has completed their military service with Norwegian Armed Forces can apply.

The road to becoming an elite soldier of the Armed Forces Special Command is hard and long. First, one must go through a tough selection to separate out those who do not have physical and mental strength to start the special forces recruitment school. Amongst the absolute minimum requirements are 45 pushups, 45 situps in 2 minutes, 8 pullups with acquiring, 400 meters swim in under 11 minutes and a 30 kilometer march with a 25 kg backpack and weapons to be completed within 4 hours and 50 minutes. It should be noted that this is the minimum, and that one should be well above these when applying for admission.

After passing the physical and mental test an application must pass "special forces school". The school will last three weeks and all that is known is that it comprises hard physical exercises with little food or little sleep. Very few of those who enter the school passes it completely.

If the recruitment school is passed, you get the opportunity to start basic training. The program is divided into different classes and lasts from August to June. After training, one is eligible for operational service in FSK, and that one can be trained further as a specialist. Examples are snipers or medical men, who receive advanced training in their fields. Snipers may, in addition to reconnaissance and engage with target detection, "engage and kill a target on a range of over one kilometer distance in absolute darkness".[4]

The FSK works with special forces from several other countries, including the Special Air Services (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) from the United Kingdom, Delta Force and the Navy SEALs / DEVGRU in the United States, and KSK and GSG-9 of Germany.

HistoryEdit

The unit was established in 1982 and became operative in 1984. A parachute unit that is now part of FSK had been established in 1962.[2]

FSK was first[citation needed] officially revealed to the media after the military's comments regarding the hijacking of an airplane at Fornebu in September 1993.

Outside of NorwayEdit

KosovoEdit

The FSK and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) cooperated in various ways during the Kosovo conflict.[5] FSK / HJK was the first[citation needed] special forces unit to enter Pristina. The HJK's mission was to level the negotiating field between the belligerent parties, and to fine-tune the detailed, local deals needed to implement the peace deal between the Serbians and the Kosovo Albanians.[6]

AfghanistanEdit

Spesialjegere

FSK soldiers during Operation Anaconda

FSK training, alongside the ferry, about to start raising the telescopic arm

FSK during training in the Oslofjord, entring a ferry by telescopic ladder

FSK training, alongside the ferry

FSK during training in the Oslofjord, entering a ferry by telescopic ladder

FSK training, steering away from the ferry

FSK during training in the Oslofjord

FSK supported U.S. Special Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. They have had missions in the Helmand and Uruzgan provinces of South Afghanistan[7]

FSK has co-operated with other special forces such as the British SAS, Delta Force and DEVGRU of US Special Operations Command and KSK of Germany.[citation needed]

OrganizationEdit

In 2003, the unit was claimed to consist of about 100 commandos.[8][n 1] (These individual commandos are referred to by various names in the Norwegian media, including kommandosoldat, spesialsoldat and spesialjeger.)

Chain of commandEdit

Above the FSK's Commanding Officer, the chain of command includes the Ministry of Defence. The unit commander reports directly to GIH (generalinspektøren for hæren).[9] There is at least one reference claiming the existence of a Chief of Special forces (sjefen for spesialstyrkene)[n 2][10]

Relationship with HJKEdit

HJK (Hærens Jegerkommando) and FSK have at times (if not today) shared a Commanding Officer.[n 3][11]

FSK and HJK share training facilities at the military base (Rena leir), where both units are headquartered.

The term "FSK/HJK"Edit

The term "FSK/HJK" is in use.[12][13] FSK/HJK are claimed to be a special force(s) ("en spesialstyrke").[14] FSK/HJK are also claimed to be responsible for preparing/training soldiers for service in spesialjegerkommandoen and fallskjermjegertroppen[15]

HJK received its name in 1997, and records are lacking regarding any subsequent change of the unit's name. Records of FSK, being incorporated into another unit, are also lacking.

FSK/HJK is the name of any task force convened, consisting of the two different units, FSK and HJK.

FSK and HJK, have the capabilities of sharing logistics, training facilities and other resources, including mailing address[16] and e-mail address.[17]

General tasksEdit

In peacetime they are a support element to the Norwegian Police force and law enforcement agencies in allied nations, acting when requested by the Norwegian Police force or the Ministry of Justice and Public Security in serious incidents like hostage situations and aircraft hijacking. During counter-terrorist operations, the commandos are trained to kill their opponents, rather[citation needed] than trying to arrest them.

In wartime, their tasks are mainly:

  • to gather intelligence
  • to localize and identify enemy supplies and activity
  • to carry out offensive operations against very important targets
  • to provide support to rescue missions involving important personnel
  • to provide protection to personnel and departments.

SelectionEdit

Soldiers from any branch of the Norwegian military, can be selected to join FSK. Conscripts can not apply[citation needed] for FSK selection.

Previously, the FSK only accepted applicants who had served as a conscript in either Marinejegerkommandoen or HJK.

TrainingEdit

Candidates for FSK will go through some of the toughest Norwegian military training.

FSK-officers are claimed to receive training at Long Range Reconnaissance School in Germany.[18]

Criticism of the trainingEdit

Parachute landings on oil platforms in the North SeaEdit

Testimony in court and in the media indicates that training previously included parachute landings on helicopter landing-pads related to oil platforms.[19][20] The SAS (special forces from Britain) considered such as suicide missions.[20]

"Sitting duck" exercisesEdit

In the past, the training has included "sitting duck" exercises, where a soldier had to sit still while live rounds were fired, missing the soldier's head by only a few centimeters.[19][21] The stated purpose of the exercise, if any, is lacking from records.

Comments made about the exercise include "There probably is a reason why one does not conduct this exercise today."[n 4][22]

ControversiesEdit

Psychological follow-upEdit

Claims have been made, that professional psychological help for traumatized FSK-soldiers, has not been adequate (and sometimes not reasonably available).[23]

Knut Braa has said that in 2002, FSK soldiers who saw combat were not being debriefed adequately.[24] (Pål Herlofsen was (then) in charge of the "psychological follow-up" of the soldiers.[25])

Dagens Næringsliv asked in 2003, if it is a problem that soldiers are prohibited from talking about their experiences during their service for FSK, due to confidentiality (taushetsplikt). Minister of Defence Kristin Krohn Devold replied that "they are not prohibited from discussing their experiences and feelings (opplevelser) during therapy with civilian therapists."

Safety violationsEdit

During an FSK training mission a former commando of USA (Kevin Thilgman), died in 2010 when their boat capsized at a speed above 50 knots.[26] A number of safety procedures had been violated, when the "newly"[26] acquired boat was being demonstrated without testing being completed in advance.

Falsification of documentsEdit

In 2013 Dagbladet quoted a recent[27] court verdict that said "The appellate court finds on account of witness testimony of NN and NN that most likely the written statements are false, and most likely they have been fabricated at a later time (i ettertid) to begrunne (or give a reason) for firing Sagvolden". (A soldier at FSK in 1983,[27] Bjørn Sagvolden, was fired from his job on the force.) In seven written statements purportedly from soldiers in FSK, dated December 1983, Sagvolden was labeled as quarrelsome and reckless in his handling of firearms.[27] Two of the soldiers who the written statements named as the persons who sent [and authored] the statements, denied (in the appelate court) that they had done so.[27] Those two also testified that "FSK's leadership [in 1983] disagreed (faglig uenig) with Sagvolden on military subjects".[27] On 9 July 2013 media said that the [seven] written statements had not been signed, and that those statements were used by two psychiatrists who acted as expert witnesses (sakkyndig), diagnosing Sagvolden as having "a post-traumatic stress affliction or brain damage"—without having met Sagvolden.[28]

A 29 June 2013 Dagbladet article said that the ministry of defence will "ask Forsvaret (Norway's military) to investigate the claims that false documents were fabricated, in connection with the job firing case (oppsigelsessaken)".[29] On 9 July 2013 media said that "Now the Judge Advocate General sends the case to the police".[28]

Former commanding officersEdit

Former commanding officers of FSK include:

WeaponsEdit

The soldiers are trained in the use of these weapons:

VehiclesEdit

  • Geländewagen/MB270 CDI FAV vehicle armoured and EOD protected with 3 weaponstations (2 MG3 and 1 M2 or GMG). Developed in 2002 and later modernized. Used in operation Anaconda. Lot of space and mounts for equipment and communication.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. A previous claim of 40 commandos, as of 2001, with a future increase of 50 % regarding the number of soldiers, was forecast (lacking a timeframe) in the enclosed reference: http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=9958374 Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  2. Colonel Torgeir Gråtrud was Chief of special forces as of October 17, 2007
  3. The Commanding Officer for FSK and HJK, was the same person, in year 2003, at least. Ref: Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet,16./21. april 2003,p.29 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  4. According to former "FSK-Sergeant"/ FSK-veteran of the Kosovo conflict, Knut Harald Hansen

ReferencesEdit

  1. Taushet om spesialstyrker : Ny Tid Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  2. 2.0 2.1 Monica Rikoll: Forsvarets spesialkommando feiret 50-års-jubileum NRK, 1 September 2012, (Norwegian)
  3. "- VIKTIG Å BESKYTTE: Forsvarets spesialkommando (FSK) har jevnlig realistiske øvelser i terror mot norske oljeplattformer i Nordsjøen"
  4. http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=5499981
  5. Hjalp vi forbryterne til makten? - Kultur - Dagbladet.no Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  6. Tom Bakkeli - Norges Hemmelige Krigere (ISBN 978-82-489-0722-0)
  7. http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10029382
  8. Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet,16./21. april 2003,p.1 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  9. Glossary of Endgame by Knut Braa,p.270 "FSK er direkte underlagt GIH - generalinspektøren for Hæren - og med det tillagt stor nærhet til strategisk nivå og stor operativ makt.",ISBN 978-82-8143-198-0
  10. Ærverdig avslutning for Lingeklubben - regjeringen.no Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  11. Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet,16./21. april 2003,p.29 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf ) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  12. mil.no | Hæren | Om FSK/HJK
  13. mil.no | Hæren
  14. mil.no | Hæren | Forsvarets spesialkommando/ Hærens Jegerkommando
  15. Glossary of Endgame,p.270,ISBN 978-82-8143-198-0
  16. http://www.fallskjermjeger.no/ "Post: — Forsvarets Spesialkommando- Hærens jegerkommando — Postboks 124—2451 Rena"
  17. http://www.fallskjermjeger.no/
  18. Taushet om spesialstyrker : Ny Tid Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  19. 19.0 19.1 Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet,16./21. april 2003,p.27 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf ) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  20. 20.0 20.1 Verdens Gang, 14.11.2008 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-14/faksimile_vg_fsk_141108.pdf )
  21. http://www.lokalavisen.no/nyheter/til-kamp-mot-staten-1.4794004 : (translation: "A short time after the accident he was placed in a dark room with an infrared beam pointed at his forehead, and shots were fired around his head.") "Kort tid etter ulykken ble han plassert i et mørkt rom med infrarød stråle i panna, og skutt rundt hodet på."
  22. Dagens Næringsliv, DN Magasinet,16./21. april 2003,p.28 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf ) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  23. "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner", Dagens Næringsliv,16./21.April 2003,p.29 ( Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-13/artikkel_sagvolden_dn_210403.pdf ) Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  24. Gjernes, Knut; Hustadnes, Halldor (2003-04-16). "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner" (in Norwegian). p. 29-M. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. http://www.webcitation.org/5wCk1bXhR. "November 2002 ... Knut Arnljot Braa holder foredrag om senvirkningene. Etter foredraget kommer to menn i 20-årsalderen bort til ham. To spesialtrente soldater. - Bare noen dager tidligere kom de hjem fra slagmarken i Afghanistan. De har skutt for å drepe, og selv blitt beskutt. De har sett døde ligge igjen. Nå forteller de om mangel på oppfølging etter at de kom hjem fra slagmarken i Afghanistan. De har skutt for å drepe, og selv blitt beskutt. De har sett døde ligge igjen. Nå forteller de om mangel på oppfølging av kritiske episoder, som ikke bare er militærfaglig. De forteller også hvor ekstra vanskelig det er å komme hjem til kjæreste og familie med forbud mot å fortelle hva de har opplevd. De er fra Forsvarets Spesialkommando." 
  25. Gjernes, Knut; Hustadnes, Halldor (2003-04-16). "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner" (in Norwegian Hemmelige psykologer. Dagens Næringsliv vet at oberstløytnant, psykiater og sjef for Oslo Militære Legekontor, Pål Herlovsen og psykolog Jon Reichelt ved Kontor for Psykiatri ved Forsvarets overkommando har ansvaret for den psykologiske oppfølgingen av Forsvarets Spesialkommando. - Det eneste jeg kan si er at vi har tenkt på det meste. Noe mer om hvordan vi har organisert oss ønsker vi ikke å gå ut med, sier psykiater Pål Herlovsen.). p. 29-M. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. http://www.webcitation.org/5wCk1bXhR. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Tom Bakkeli (September 2014). "- SIKKERHETEN HAR SVIKTET" (in Norwegian). p. 14. ""Forsvarets nye hurtiggående RHIB"; RHIB-en ikke var ferdig testet"; "toppfart langt over 50 knopdisambiguation needed" "; "Båtfører fra FLO Forsvarets Logistikkorganisajon"; Vealøs ... Langøya}}
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 Hustadnes, Halldor (2013-06-28). "Lagmannsretten mener Forsvaret forfalsket dokumenter mot elitesoldat. 30 år etter nestendrukning og heftig skyting får eks-soldaten Bjørn Sagvolden (55) erstatning." (in Norwegian). http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/06/28/nyheter/forsvaret/innenriks/27903431/. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Ber politiet granske om elitesoldaten Bjørn (55) ble offer for falske rapporter. Krigsadvokaten ber politiet vurdere etterforskning.". 2013-07-09. http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/07/09/nyheter/innenriks/forsvar/28095013/. 
  29. Hustadnes, Halldor (2013-06-29). "Generaladvokaten skrev støttebrev for yrkesskadet elitesoldat. Nå krever den sparkede tidligere elitesoldaten Bjørn Sagvolden (55) erstatning fra Forsvaret.". http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/06/28/nyheter/forsvaret/elitestyrker/27933710/. 
  30. "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner", Dagens Næringsliv,16./21.April 2003,p.29

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