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Expanding the Reach of the Special Forces with a Gender-Mixed Deep Development Capability (DDC): Identifying Challenges and Lessons Learned

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Driven by the need to adapt to a changing security environment, the Belgian Special Forces Group has developed a new gendermixed capability in 2020, including female soldiers in the operational detachment of the unit for the first time. This brief examines the development and implementation of the project and identifies challenges for future similar capacities. It points to the need for clarification of tasks and employment conditions, while attracting male candidates is necessary to maintain the ‘mixed’ character of the capability. In conclusion it argues that overall, efforts to avoid gender instrumentalization have been successful and the creation of the capability is a first step in the direction to diversify the composition of the Special Forces, a step that is necessary to remain relevant in a complex security context.

(Photo credit: Special Forces Group)