Facing an underwear shortage, the Norwegian army is requiring conscripts to return their government-issued boxer shorts after their military service is over.
About 8,000 men and women are called up for service every year in the army of Norway, a founding member of NATO. In the past, they returned the uniforms after completing a 12- to 19-month term of service but were allowed to keep issued undergarments such socks, underwear and bras.
The new underwear turn-in policy was initially voluntary but is now mandatory, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has been linked to factory shutdowns and transport problems in Norway, has impacted the military supply system in the Scandinavian country. New draftees will now get used underwear when they begin their military service.
“This move is necessary as it provides the Armed Forces with greater garment volumes available for new soldiers starting their initial service,” said the Norwegian Defense Logistics Organization, as quoted by The Associated Press.
Norwegian military officials insist the underwear will be cleaned before it is handed out to new troops.
With “proper checks and cleaning, the reuse of garments is considered an adequate and sound practice,” Norwegian defense logistics spokesman Hans Meisingset told the AP.