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Who Are The Swedish Special Forces?
Sweden has two special forces teams – the Special Protection Group, Särskilda Skyddsgruppen or SSG and the Special Reconnaissance Group, Särskilda Inhämtningsgruppen or SIG. Both units come under the Ministry of Defense and are under the direct command of the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces. It is planned to merge the SSG and SIG into a single unit by 2011.
The SPG became active in 1994 while the SIG was established much later in 2006. The Swedish military became more active during the Cold War years when service in the army became compulsory. The Swedish military serves the Swedish people and has also been deployed around the world. Recently, the SPG was deployed to Afghanistan in support of ISAF, a NATO group. Both the SSG and the SIG were deployed to Chad, as part of the Swedish marine contribution to EUFOR.
How to become a member of the SSG & SIG
While the SSG is made up of officers from all 3 military branches – Army, Navy and Air Force, they are drawn primarily from the Coastal Rangers, Airborne Rangers and Parachute Rangers. The selection process is extremely arduous and demanding.
Males are mostly conscripted into the Swedish army, although there have been a considerable number of female volunteers in recent years. The standards and challenges for female candidates are the same as for male candidates. The average age of workers is 30 years old.
Swedish special forces training
Basic recruit training lasts over 12 months and includes VIP protection, parachuting and scuba diving. SSG officers also receive special weapons training, sniper training, and first aid training. The training is usually conducted in foreign countries with many joint exercises with the special forces of these countries.
What are they the best at?
Their goal is to be neutral in times of war. They are trained to protect territory, defend their country and assist civilians. They also deploy troops for international peace missions. GIS are specially trained in reconnaissance and clandestine surveillance with the aim of gathering intelligence on any individual or activity of strategic importance. The GIS undertake delicate and dangerous missions that require them to move undetected inside hostile areas.
Arms of Sweden
The weapons are unknown.
The SSG has been active in Afghanistan and Kosovo. They have also been active in the fight against piracy as part of Operation Atlanta and have been deployed for peacekeeping in Sudan and Chad.
There are many established units in the Swedish army, but only 2 are ready for instant deployment. The Home Guard and the First Regiment are ready for immediate deployment.
Are they professional soldiers?
Most members of the Swedish military are conscripts who must serve due to the Compulsory Service Act. They are paid for their service, but the plan is to end mandatory service in the summer of 2010.
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