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Norway’s Hunter Troop – The world’s first all-female special force

Since 2014, the Norwegian Armed Forces have been training a special force unit composed exclusively of women, which is called Jegertroppen. The unit specializes in surveillance and reconnaissance in urban areas and is under the Norwegian Armed Forces Special Command (FSK).

Before the inception of Jegertroppen, there were no women in Norwegian special operations forces. The war in Afghanistan revealed the operational limitations of not having female soldiers in their troops. Male soldiers were unable to interact with local Afghan women. This was problematic as a significant aspect of counterinsurgency operations is the establishment of ties with locals through interaction. This exclusion of half the population limited the collection of intelligence.

Training in Jegertroppen involves a series of tough physical challenges, including long-range patrols, surviving in Arctic climate, counterterrorism, urban warfare, and paratrooper training, sometimes without food for days. Long marches in Norway’s mountainous terrain while carrying rucksacks weighing 40-50 kg are also part of the training.

As in all special forces, the selection process is tough. In 2015, there were 196 applicants, with 37 making it through the selection weekend, 17 completed the yearlong training process and 14 joined the unit after training concluded.

The Norwegian Armed Forces also strives to increase the all-over number of female soldiers in the military. In October 2014, the Norwegian parliament approved a bill proposed in 2013 to extend conscription to women, which came into effect January 2015. This made Norway the first NATO country to mandate female conscription.

The Armed Forces have also implemented various measures to remove tensions between genders. One experiment is the introduction of unisex rooms for male and female soldiers. A study found that unisex rooms minimized gender stereotypes, increased team cohesion, reduced sexual tension, and improved relations between genders significantly.

Video of Jegertroppen:

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