Tom Bakkeli is a Norwegian writer and journalist who has written extensively about Norway’s Special Operations units, MJK and FSK. Unfortunately, his books are not available in English, but Tom was gracious enough to spare SOFREP a few minutes of his time to answer some questions about Norway’s allied Special Operations units, which have been helping us fight the War on Terror.

Q: What is the Norwegian approach to special operations? Is it roughly along the same lines as other NATO member nations, or do the Norwegian units feature historical and cultural traits unique to their country?

A: As a country with a five million population, we have a quite small defense force. It has undergone a huge modernization after the cold war. In this process, the special operations forces, Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK) and Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK), have been strengthened. The operations in the former Yugoslavia – Bosnia and Kosovo – and especially in Afghanistan, have shown that they are capable. The Norwegian SOF traditions go back to Second World War, when they were established under British command in Special Operations Executive. Company Linge executed several spectacular operations in Nazi-occupied Norway; one of the best known is the heavy water operation in Vemork in 1943.

Norway's Secret Warriors

Q: How has Norway’s history and geography shaped FSK and MJK’s capabilities?

A: The experiences during WWII made it clear how small units of carefully selected and well-trained men could execute operations of strategic importance. The arctic climate of Norway, combined with mountains, sea, and fjords, make our country one of the most challenging areas of operations. This gives Norwegian SOF two big advantages: they have one of the best training grounds at home, and some of the best American and other nation’s SOF units come here for training exercises every year and build a close relationship with the Norwegian SOF.

Q: Please give us an overview of FSK and MJK. What is the task and purpose of these two units, and how do they differ from each other?

A: FSK was partly built as a counter terror unit, partly as a full spectrum SOF unit. It is the Norwegian Delta Force or 22 SAS. MJK is the maritime SOF unit in Norway, and our SEAL Team.