Forsvarets Spesialkommando

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Forsvarets Spesialkommando
FSK-HJK-logo.gif
Forsvarets Spesialkommando Insignia
Active 1982- current
Country Norway Norway
Branch Norwegian Special Operations Forces
Type Special operations forces
Role Special Reconnaissance (SR)
Direct Action (DA)
Military Assistance (MA)
Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR)
Collateral Activities (CA)
Size Classified
Garrison/HQ Rena leir
Engagements

Cold War
Bosnian war
1995 Kidnapping of western tourists in Kashmir
Kosovo war
Operation Allied Force
Operation Joint Guardian
Incident at Pristina airport
2001 Macedonia conflict
Operation Essential Harvest
Task Force K-Bar
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Anaconda
Operation Jacana
Uzbin Valley ambush (after action only)
Release of hostage Christina Meier
April 2012 Afghanistan attacks
Hostage incident at Qargha Reservoir / Lake Qara june 2012
Operation Ocean Shield
Operation Atalanta
Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons

  • Only a small selection of engagements / missions *
Decorations Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg  Army Presidential Unit Citation
Commanders
Current
commander
Oberst Frode Kristoffersen, Chief of the FSK

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[1] due to the increased risk of terrorist activity against Norwegian interests, including the oil platforms in the North Sea.[2]

In 2013, the unit was reorganized, alongside Marinejegerkommandoen, into a separate branch of the Norwegian Armed Forces - The Norwegian Armed Forces Special Operations Forces.[3]

Introduction[edit]

Very little is known publicly about FSK, since the Norwegian government denied their existence and participation in any military operations for a long time. Some details have however emerged after FSK´s 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 their base at 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 on the unit as a "special military command composed of highly trained operators from Hærens Jegerkommando at Trandum and Marinejegerkommandoen, in addition to other specialists. The operators are very experienced and have served in the military for several years before joining."[citation needed]

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 be used in the event of terrorist attacks against oil installations - especially hijacking situations." FSK's existence was only publicly acknowledged by the Norwegian Armed Forces for the first time in 1999, when a piece about the unit appeared in the Armed Forces Magazine "Forsvarets Forum" (The Defence Forum).[4]

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

History[edit]

Forsvarets Spesialkommando can trace its roots back to the Second World War, when Norwegians served in the British Special Operations Executive (Norwegian Independent Company 1), Independent Parachute Company 1 and No. 5 Troop 10 Interallied Commando.

In 1953, the Norwegian Armed Forces started training frogmen and on 25 March 1962 the Army Parachute Ranger School (Hærens Fallskjermjegerskole) was created. The focus of this school initially was to provide parachute training for certain groups of personnel within the Norwegian Armed Forces, and eventually the Parachute Ranger Platoon (Fallskjermjegertroppen) was established in 1965. Specially selected personnel from this platoon were assigned to Ranger Command 1 in the old mobilization army of the Cold War and were on standby in case of war.

In 1971, the Army Parachute Ranger School changed its name to the Army Ranger School (Hærens Jegerskole), to emphasize the training of Army Rangers. Based on an increase in international terrorism and Norway's newly developed offshore oil services, the government decided in 1979 to establish a counter-terrorism capacity within the Norwegian Armed Forces. This task was given to the Army Ranger School, and Forsvarets Spesialkommando was born in 1982 – as part of the Army Ranger School.

From the mid-1990s there was an increasing focus on international operations. To show that the Army Ranger School now had an operative arm as well as the traditional training role, it changed its name to the Army Ranger Command (Hærens Jegerkommando) in 1997. The same year, HJK moved from Trandum to Rena, where the unit is based today.

During the 2000s, HJK changed its name to FSK/HJK, to reflect the two units that make up the command (FSK being the operative wing and HJK being the training wing). Since 2013–2014, the FSK/HJK name has been discontinued and the operative SOF-unit is simply known as FSK.[5]

Today[edit]

FSK has gone from being a cadre and training-unit for paratroopers and the mobilization army, to being a professional unit with substantial experience, robustness, competency and capacity. The unit has been deployed internationally on several occasions and has received international recognition for its efforts.

The unit has a considerable amount of support from Norway's political and military leaders. The Norwegian Parliament has decided that the Norwegian SOF are to be strengthened. FSK recruits, selects and trains paratroopers and SOF operators, and produces officers for the rest of the Norwegian Armed Forces. FSK is on both national and international standby for special operations and counter-terrorism operations (alongside Marinejegerkommandoen). In addition, FSK is the competency and training centre for all parachute and counter-terrorism training in the Norwegian Armed Forces.[5]

International Operations[edit]

Kosovo[edit]

FSK and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) cooperated in various ways during the Kosovo conflict.[6] FSK, operating alongside the British SAS, was the first special operations force to enter Pristina. FSK'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.[7][8][9]

Afghanistan[edit]

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

FSK supported Coalition Special Operations Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as part of Task Force K-Bar. They have carried out missions in the Helmand and Uruzgan provinces of South Afghanistan.[10]

More recently, FSK has had the main responisibility in training the Afghan National Police Crisis Response Unit in Kabul, under the command of the International Security Assistance Force.[11]

Forsvarets Spesialkommando's Role[edit]

"Forsvarets spesialkommando (FSK) has a role in the Norwegian Armed Forces' independent responsibility to handle an act of terrorism that is considered an "armed attack" on Norway, but also has a dedicated mission to support the police in the event counter-terrorism operations at sea. FSK may further assist the police on land." - Norwegian Parliamentary Statement 29 and e-mail address.[5]

In wartime, their tasks are mainly:

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

Selection[edit]

Currently anyone who has completed their military service with Norwegian Armed Forces can apply.

The road to becoming an elite soldier of the FSK is long and hard. First, one must go through a general selection to separate out those who do not have physical and mental strength to start the special forces recruitment school. This selection lasts 3 days. After passing the general selections, an applicant attends SOF selection. This selection lasts three weeks and comprises hard physical and mental exercises with little food and little sleep. Very few of those who enter the school get through.

Following selection, the potential operator start basic training (1 year). This training involves all basic disciplines required to serve as a SOF operator. Not all who begin basic training get through. After training, one is eligible for operational service in FSK, including training in specialist roles, such as sniper, combat medic, forward air controller, etc. Further training is conducted in Norway or abroad at allied training facilities.[12]

Criticism of the training[edit]

Parachute landings on oil platforms in the North Sea[edit]

Testimony in court and in the media indicates that training previously included parachute landings on helicopter landing-pads related to oil platforms.[13][14] The SAS (special forces from Britain) considered such as suicide missions.[14]

"Sitting duck" exercises[edit]

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.[13][15] 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 1][16]

Controversies[edit]

Psychological follow-up[edit]

Claims have been made, that professional psychological help for traumatized FSK-soldiers, has not been adequate (and sometimes not reasonably available).[17]

Knut Braa has said that in 2002, FSK soldiers who saw combat were not being debriefed adequately.[18] (Pål Herlofsen was (then) in charge of the "psychological follow-up" of the soldiers.[19])

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."[citation needed]

Safety violations[edit]

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.[20] A number of safety procedures had been violated, when the "newly"[20] acquired boat was being demonstrated without testing being completed in advance.

Former commanding officers[edit]

Former commanding officers of FSK include:

Weapons[edit]

The soldiers are trained in the use of these weapons:

Vehicles[edit]

  • 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 also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to former "FSK-Sergeant"/ FSK-veteran of the Kosovo conflict, Knut Harald Hansen

References[edit]

  1. ^ Monica Rikoll: Forsvarets spesialkommando feiret 50-års-jubileum NRK, 1 September 2012, (Norwegian)
  2. ^ "- VIKTIG Å BESKYTTE: Forsvarets spesialkommando (FSK) har jevnlig realistiske øvelser i terror mot norske oljeplattformer i Nordsjøen"
  3. ^ http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/rebuilding-defense-around-sof/ Rebuilding defense around SOF
  4. ^ http://www.fofo.no/Daler+ned+i+skjul.b7C_wBnKZH.ips Forsvarets Forum: "Daler ned i skjul"
  5. ^ a b c http://forsvaret.no/utdanning-karriere/spesialstyrke/fsk-hjk/Sider/default.aspx Official FSK website
  6. ^ Hjalp vi forbryterne til makten? - Kultur - Dagbladet.no Archived 2 February 2011 at WebCite
  7. ^ Tom Bakkeli - Norges Hemmelige Krigere (ISBN 978-82-489-0722-0)
  8. ^ http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/serbia-og-montenegro/britisk-og-norske-soldater-i-pristina/a/3978724/
  9. ^ http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/norske-elitesoldater-skamroses/a/6450899/
  10. ^ http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10029382
  11. ^ http://www.vg.no/nyheter/utenriks/artikkel.php?artid=10069650 VG: "Norwegian SOF return to Afghanistan"
  12. ^ http://forsvaret.no/utdanning-karriere/spesialstyrke/fsk-hjk/spesialjeger/Sider/spesialjeger.aspx Official FSK website
  13. ^ a b 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
  14. ^ a b Verdens Gang, 14.11.2008 (Facsimile: http://www.dykkersaken.no/files/dated/2008-11-14/faksimile_vg_fsk_141108.pdf )
  15. ^ 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."
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "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
  18. ^ Gjernes, Knut; Hustadnes, Halldor (2003-04-16). "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 29-M. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. "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." 
  19. ^ Gjernes, Knut; Hustadnes, Halldor (2003-04-16). "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner". Dagens Næringsliv (in Norwegian). p. 29-M. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. "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." 
  20. ^ a b Tom Bakkeli (2011-10-06). "- SIKKERHETEN HAR SVIKTET". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). p. 14. ""Forsvarets nye hurtiggående RHIB"; RHIB-en ikke var ferdig testet"; "toppfart langt over 50 knots [[{{subst:DATE}}|{{subst:DATE}}]] [disambiguation needed]"; "Båtfører fra FLO Forsvarets Logistikkorganisajon"; Vealøs ... Langøya" 
  21. ^ "Regjeringens drapsmaskiner", Dagens Næringsliv,16./21.April 2003,p.29

External links[edit]