MarineJegerKommandoen: Norway’s oldest special forces unit

Author: Eric Sof

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MarineJegerKommandoen (MJK) is one of two special force units in Norway. The MJK is under the command of the Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM).


The unit was formed as the British model unit. Today, it can be compared to the British SBS (Special Boat Service) and the US Navy SEALs. Their primary missions are deep penetration reconnaissance and sabotage on enemy naval installations. It means that they carry out missions that require thorough planning, quick reaction, high precision, covert implementation, daring, courage, and the ability to work independently.

As with all special operations forces missions, they target objectives of high or critical strategic value. The MarineJegerKommandoen (MJK) is stationed in Ramsund Naval station, Nordland.

The second unit under the command of the Norwegian Special Operations Command (NORSOCOM) is the Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK), with the MJK being the oldest special operations forces unit in Norway.


The unit was formed in 1953 under Royal Norwegian Navy. This unit was under the command of Ove Lund, and is the origin of the modern Marinejegerkommandoen and Minedykkerkommandoen. The mission of the frogmen was to conduct recon and sabotage against enemy targets above and below water. The frogmen were also tasked with disarming all water-borne explosive devices.

Today, alongside the Marinejegerkommandoen, Norway has at least one Ranger battalion (light infantry) capable of dividing into small unit patrols for sustained deep reconnaissance and attrition operations against the second-echelon command, control, and communication, logistical units, and enemy reserves.

Norwegian Rangers also gather and transmit intelligence for multiple-launch rocket system target acquisition and have a forward-air-controller (FAC) capability to call in airstrikes. All-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, fast patrol boats, and airdrops are means of insertion.

Training and selection

To join the Marinejegerkommandoen, a candidate have to complete a 22-week long selection course at Dykker- og Froskemannsskolen (Diver and frogman School) at Haakonsvern Naval Station outside Bergen. After that, they go to Ramsund Naval Station for further training.

Operators of Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK), a Norway's prime SOF unit
Operators of Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK), a Norway’s prime SOF unit (Photo: XY)

As with any modern special operations forces, the training to become a special forces operator is long and arduous, both physically and mentally taxing. For example, during the selection phase (one of the final phases of MJK training), each of the candidates (which at this point of training consists of about 5-8 men out of an original 100-200) must carry a 60 kg (130 lb) rucksack while being hunted by an “enemy force” consisting of Home Guard soldiers, military and law enforcement K-9 units and police officers. During the test, the candidates are captured and must endure 36 hours of tactical questioning.

To become a fully qualified operator takes a minimum of two years and is further augmented by specialized courses during the following contract period, such as combat medic training, sniper training, and forward air control (FAC) training.

Every second-year, elements of the unit train alongside the U.S. Navy SEALs.

International Operations

The unit has participated in several international operations so far. They actively took part in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. MJK’s contribution in Afghanistan has largely been kept secret. Still, from what little information is available, its missions have included DA (direct action), Forward Air Control (FAC), and SR (Special Surveillance and Reconnaissance), and cooperating with other coalition forces in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Although it is officially denied, Norwegian Special Forces were reported to have worked with Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) forces to conduct intensive surveillance of Serbian forces’ movements and positions 2 days before NATO’s entry into Kosovo.

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As with most Special Operations Forces, the mission’s details of the unit are classified.

The MarineJegerKommandoen motto: “Prepare for tomorrow’s threats, today”

William H. McRaven, then commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), said in 2007 that he regarded the Special Operations Forces of Norway to be among the top special operations forces in the world. McRaven was a mastermind behind Operation Neptune Spear.

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