Faced with a shortage of underwear, the Norwegian military is demanding that conscripts return their government-issued underpants after their military service has ended.
Approximately 8,000 men and women are called up to service each year in the Norwegian Army, a founding member of NATO. In the past, they would return uniforms after completing a 12-19 month service period, but were allowed to keep underwear such as socks, underwear, and bras.
The new underwear discount policy was initially voluntary but is now mandatory, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has been linked to factory closures and transportation issues in Norway, has impacted the Scandinavian country’s military supply system. New conscripts will now get used to their underwear when they start military service.
“This decision is necessary because it provides the armed forces with greater volumes of clothing available for new soldiers starting their initial service,” the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Norwegian military officials insist the underwear will be cleaned before it is distributed to new troops.
With “proper checks and cleaning, reuse of clothing is considered an adequate and healthy practice,” Norwegian defense logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset told the AP.