Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force

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The Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force (JSSDF) is a military organization. It has a background role in the Evangelion TV series and serves as a primary antagonist in End of Evangelion. The appearance and tactics of its members may have been inspired or influenced by the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany.

Origin and purpose

The JSSDF was formed in 2003 in response to the outbreak of war between China and Vietnam over the Nansha Islands as a result of post-Second Impact tensions. Operating under the command of the Japanese Prime Minister via the Ministry of Defense, it is responsible for special warfare and black operations in and around the Japanese home islands. While the force's existence is probably known to the general public, the full extent of its activities is likely a carefully guarded secret.

Organization and tactics

The JSSDF operates independently of the other Self Defense Force branches. While it ultimately answers to the same authority, its chain of command is probably streamlined and compartmentalized in such a way as to make it useful for quelling internal disturbances without drawing attention. It is a combined arms force, with armor and air units separate from those of the JGSDF and JASDF. It may also operate its own naval units. The SSDF's personnel are recruited from the upper echelons of the Japanese military's regular forces, with a strong emphasis on unwavering loyalty to the chain of command and obedience of orders.

The SSDF's tactics are based on the Blitzkrieg concept, emphasizing bombardment followed by rapid mobile force strikes and surprise attacks. While successful in this regard, the force is incapable of sustaining long-term operations; in the event of a stalemate, Strategic Self Defense forces would be able to hold their ground for only a short time without logistical support from the other SDF sections.

Arms and equipment

The JSSDF has extensive access to foreign weapons and vehicles, as well as the UN's arsenal of N² bombs. They are also heavily involved in the development of directed energy weapons such as the positron rifle.

Vehicles

The SSDF's mechanized ground forces operate main battle tanks, HMMWVs, mobile rocket and artillery platforms and other mainstays of modern land warfare. All ground vehicles are painted black; markings are sparse but known to include yellow lightening bolt and arrow emblems.

The air wing operates the same VTOL heavy fighters as the ASDF, along with fixed-wing bombers and smaller VTOL craft analogous to helicopter gunships. The standard paint scheme for fighters and bombers is dark green, while gunships wear black like the ground units. Unlike ground armor, air units are clearly marked as belonging to the SSDF.

Infantry

Infantry forces wear black bodysuits and helmets, while officers and rearguard staff wear berets. Troops carry little or no armor - their suits cannot stop 9mm handgun rounds - and minimal supplies, as per the SSDF's tactical preference for maximum speed and maneuverability. Frontline personnel carry riot shields when assaulting fortified positions.

The standard-issue small arms are the Heckler & Koch G11 assault rifle and the Fabrique Nationale P90 submachine gun and Hi-Power pistol. Select squads are also armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers or flamethrowers.

Role in Evangelion

While the JSSDF is present throughout the series, it only occupies center stage at the end.

Role in the series

The SSDF first appeared in episode six, when Nerv requisitioned their prototype positron rifle for use against Ramiel. In episode seven Misato Katsuragi suspected the SSDF of being involved in the Jet Alone project, but Ritsuko Akagi denied it. The Strategic SDF lurked for the remainder of the series, stepping in occasionally when Nerv encounters difficulties. In episode eighteen, Kozo Fuyutsuki specifically ordered that the Eva-03 activation accident be dealt with before the SSDF could intervene.

Role in EoE

The SSDF ultimately served as the vanguard of Seele's move to crush Nerv and initiate the Human Instrumentality Project, ironically bringing about the very event they believed themselves to be preventing. The actual process was instigated by the Prime Minister in Matsushiro, acting in response to false information provided by Seele agents. The assault itself had been planned for some time, and was authorized only after an attempt to hijack Nerv HQ's Magi failed.

The initial stages were successful, as SSDF tanks and aircraft systematically demolished the fixed defenses and sensor systems around the Geofront. Infantry forces penetrated headquarters itself, killing all personnel inside regardless of age, sex or attempts to surrender, as per standing orders. They failed to secure the bridge, however, and the surviving Nerv staff - particularly officers Makoto Hyuga and Shigeru Aoba - were able to impede their progress by flooding sections of the facility with Bakelite. The SSDF responded to the resistance by blowing open the Geofront with an N² munition and saturation-bombing the interior. Soldiers managed to locate Shinji Ikari, but were gunned down by Major Katsuragi before they could execute him. The Major herself was killed when a strike team blew up a section of the complex, but her death had little effect on the outcome of the battle.

The Strategic SDF might still have been able to defeat Nerv's defenders were it not for the reactivation of Eva-02: the SSDF forces were unable to defeat the Eva's A.T. Field and armor even after cutting its power cable and scoring direct hits with cruise missiles. The pilot, Asuka Langley Soryu, singlehandedly demolished a large contingent of air and ground forces, going so far as to hurl a destroyer at one group.

The invasion stalled, Seele abandoned the SSDF and dealt with Eva-02 by deploying the Mass Production Evas. The surviving SSDF troops were presumably killed when the Eva Series initiated Third Impact.