The Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force, or JSSDF, is a military organization under the joint control of the United Nations and Japanese government with the task of protecting Japan. It can be seen as the primary antagonist in The End of Evangelion for physically carrying out the attack on NERV despite being ordered to do so indirectly by SEELE and specifically Keel Lorenz.
In Episode 14 it is revealed they were formed in reaction to mounting tensions over the Nansha Islands in 2003 between China and Vietnam. In 2015 they have been shown operating against the Angels many times to no avail, despite valiant efforts, with the most notable examples being the battles with Sachiel, and the later battle against the Seventh Angel. They are seen conducting a conventional military operation in 2015, where they invade the GeoFront.
When Sachiel emerged from the ruins of Tokyo-1, the angel was attacked by a squadron of Jet-VTOL gunships. Despite heavy missile barrages, little effect was made. Soon afterwards, hundreds of JSDF tanks, assault guns, MRLS rocket platform trucks, five Jet-VTOL missile carriers, and other Jet-VTOL gunships commenced an epic bombardment against the angel; remarkably, no real damage was done. Shortly afterward, an N2 mine detonated under Sachiel's feet, destroying 18% of the Angel's mass. Despite elation from JSSDF staff, Ritsuko Akagi chides the mine was only able to penetrate the AT field because of the sheer raw power of the explosion.
By comparison Clockiel was engaged by a squadron of JSSDF frigates but to negligible effect: the frigates were completely destroyed by the angel's cross shaped explosions.
It is last depicted invading NERV HQ to prevent Third Impact, on orders from the government which was fed information from SEELE. During The End of Evangelion, Jet-VTOL, a frigate, MRLS rocket platforms, and nine Mass Production Evangelion were all deployed in an attempt to destroy Evangelion Unit-02. The former group of conventional weapons was totally annihilated by Asuka Langley Sohryu; while the latter group of SEELE produced Evangelion came as reinforcements and would triumph in combat over Asuka by using copies of the Spear of Longinus to break EVA-02's Absolute Terror Field.
Unlike NERV, the JSSDF is a conventional military force, they are depicted as having access to an extensive range of weaponry and vehicles, both foreign and domestic, along with numerous conventional-warfare systems to protect Tokyo-3 from attacks. In the semicircle of mountains around the city are dozens of missile emplacements, each with about twenty missiles inside, in addition there are massive bunker networks built into the mountain-sides, with high caliber artillery mounted on turrets. All of these systems were used against the angel Ramiel, and many were destroyed.
Despite their conventional nature they are also heavily involved in the research and development of several directed energy weapon projects, such as the Positron Rifle, and rivals to the Evangelion like Jet Alone, Jet Alone Kai, T•RIDEN•T Land Cruiser, and Strategic Defense Force Integrated Mechanic Soldier Type-4 "Akashima". The most potent weapons in the organization's arsenal (other than the mass production EVA seen in the finale) are N² Mines, the most powerful conventional non-nuclear explosive devices ever created by man, which are strong enough to injure some angels.
The JSSDF’s mechanized ground forces operate conventional vehicles like Main Battle Tanks (which appear to be based on the Type 74 series), Humvees, mobile rocket and artillery MLRS platforms and other mainstays of modern land warfare. These are shown bombarding the Angel Sachiel with dozens of tanks, assault guns, and tracked missile carriers, as well as VTOL gunships and five ballistic bombs; The camera shakes to emphasize the intensity of the bombardment.
The JSSDF's air wing operates a fleet of Heavy Fighter Jet-VTOL aerial gunships with firepower equal to that of an attack helicopter. Its arsenal also includes smaller VTOL aircraft (which are more mobile), fixed-wing bombers for deploying ballistic weapons, and large “flying wing” craft used to transport Evangelion Units(be it shipping an Eva between North America and Japan, or deploying Eva(s) directly into combat against Angels). The Jet-VTOL were the first units deployed against Sachiel.
Frontline infantry forces wear black bodysuits and helmets, while officers and rear-guard staff wear berets or baseball cap-like hats. Despite being frontline, general infantry appear to wear light combat armor as their suits cannot stop .45ACP rounds (as seen in End of Evangelion), apparently sacrificing safety and survivability in exchange for rapid deployment and maneuverability; Frontline personnel carry ballistic shields when assaulting fortified positions to compensate for their light armor. JSSDF infantry tactics are demonstrated during the assault on the GeoFront and specifically NERV HQ, a lightly guarded facility built to withstand Angel attacks, in which three JSSDF platoons infiltrate the exterior quietly and only engage in combat with heavy weapons once well within Central Dogma
Standard-issue small arms are the Heckler & Koch G11 Assault Rifle, the Fabrique Nationale P90 Submachine Gun and the Hi-Power Pistol. Select squads are also armed with Panzerfaust 3 rocket launchers or M2 flamethrowers.
- The Japanese Strategic Self Defense Forces are a counterpart to the real Japan Self-Defense Forces
- In the TRUE² Script each JSSDF Infantry team are named after famous JBL Players (Yamagishi, Yanagihara and Shinjo respectively)
- Despite utilizing Mass Production Evangelion, the nine units are controlled by Kaworu based Dummy Systems and produced entirely by SEELE. The JSSDF are, in reality, largely ignorant of the Evas true nature.
- In the Manga, before Misato saves Shinji from the JSSDF, one of their soldiers chides "Don't hate me boy". In the End of Evangelion they make dehumanizing comments towards NERV personnel and make no attempt to actually communicate with them. This is presented as ironic when, later, as the platoons retreat from taking too many casualties and breaking down they are stepped on by a landing Mass Produced Evangelion.
- 'The SSDF Laboratory where Misato requisitioned the prototype self-propelled positron cannon is actually short for Strategic Self-Defence Force Technology Laboratory. The Strategic Self-Defence Force is an organisation directly under the Ministry of Defense, which was formed in 2003 when the Chinese and Vietnamese had a military confrontation over the Nansa Islands. It is JSSDF for short, and this acronym can also be found on the positron rifle, which was remodelled off the self-propelled positron cannon. - Platinum Episode Commentaries