The Shinobi corps of the North seems to be retaining a certain sense of tradition. Most of the Shinobi corps seems to be located in Kumogakure, at its head a Raikage. However, its true master is the Daimyo of the Dominion and his advisors - playing the Raikage as a mere puppet for their plays. Whereas other nations have adopted new methods and strategems on how to deploy their shinobi corps, the Shinobi of the North have turned to their roots, embracing the shinobi's art of secrecy and subterfuge.
The Shinobi of the North aren't a task force of elite operatives - as some tend to see their shinobi corps. They are a military division tasked with various tasks that the regular force either can't do or bothered by. As such, the Shinobi of the North execute either subterfuge of nature or support a particular strategy. This has led to a doctrine in which the Shinobi of the North tend to value loyalty and diligence over individual prowess or pride. For it is unacceptable to fail the North and its ambitions.
Recruitment of Northern shinobi is efficient and straightforward. Organised teams tasked with scouting, and potential testing recruits scour the realm to fulfil the ever-growing need of competent operatives that should be moulded to become loyal Dominion servants. These Scout Teams are made of experienced investigators who know what kind of recruits will blossom to proper shinobi and recognise red flags with recruits that will be nothing more than problems. Usually, most recruits are peacefully persuaded to join the Shinobi corps - when their tests are proven well enough. However, a certain percentage is 'convinced' in less friendly methods by these investigators. Threats or sly negotiations have already led to a good number of recruits finding themselves stuck serving in the Shinobi corps, far from home and kin who they could rely upon.
However, a good portion of recruits tends to be volunteers that desire to become a shinobi, for whatever personal reasoning. These volunteers tend to be better treated than those who required 'more persuasion' to enlist into the Shinobi corps. The best lodges within the various Academies within the Dominion are reserved for promising recruits that came as volunteers. Despite various protests and the clear fact of mistreatment, this particular seems to be quite effective: as recruitment of shinobi recruits has never been so efficient in the North.
The Shinobi Corps is still a division within the nation's military. Standards are placed upon recruits and serving operatives to prevent or curb any sort of weakness within the ranks. Harsh rules and training seem to be the mandate, but for a good reason, the North's rivals tend to be ruthless and lack any mercy when encountered in missions.
The standards that are placed upon the recruits of the Northern Shinobi are:
- The recruit must have a particular aptitude towards manipulating and using chakra.
- The recruit must have finished basic training, which is a four-year program in which the recruit undergoes harsh physical as mental training; preparing them for the demanding and strenuous tasks as an operative.
- The recruit must be in excellent health and not suffering any conditions that can hamper their abilities: blindness, physical impairing state, mental fraction and so forth.
- The recruit will undergo two years of training at a military outpost far from where they were recruited or volunteered; to serve with the regular forces. During this time, they will be tasked with simple missions. Failing during this time will be unacceptable, usually ending a recruit's career or having them become sacrifical tools for future operations.
The Shinobi of the North are geared depending on their rank. The genin tends to have no access to state-supported gear, such as the iconic flak jacket. Genin tends to make do with what they are gifted or can afford, which tends to be nearly nothing. This rule has caused genin to become scavengers, often looting enemies on missions for better equipment.
Only once an operative reaches the rank of chuunin are they receiving equipment from the state. This includes some access to various armouries, in which they can obtain gear. Furthermore, they are being gifted the iconic Northern flak jacket during their tenure as operative. It is not to mention; thick woollen shin and wrist guards that can protect against both cold as small weaponry. The more experienced chuunin and higher ranked tend to customize their flak jacket - adding matters that they deem necessary, such as pouches for scrolls, tags or kunai and so forth.
There are various special units that exist to perform tasks at the highest possible efficiency known. While they are in nature shinobi operatives, these units tend to operate differently than the regular shinobi - some of them don't even heed the command of the Raikage, being directly commanded by the confidantes of the Daimyo.
- The Brothers of Shadow
Not all that aspire to become a shinobi tend to graduate from the demanding curriculum. That doesn't mean that these poor souls aren't cast out. Instead, they are welcomed with warm embraces into the ranks of the mysterious Brothers of Shadow. This new unit seems to encompass operatives that aren't fully capable of using chakra. However, they tend to make up that distinct 'weakness' with a large variety of skills. Or, in some cases: just sheer tenacity to sacrifice themselves for the ambitions of the Dominion.
- Ranzaki Daggers
An elusive branch that seems to have various practices as abilities that are on par with the ANBU. The Ranzaki Daggers are elite Northern operatives, often tasked with hunting priority targets within and outside the Lightning - often traitors or individuals that simply know too much. Origin doesn't seem to matter, as there is quite some diversity within the Ranzaki Daggers. While having a uniform gear, they often disguise themselves when conducting operations on foreign soil or when collecting information about their targets. Not much else is known about their ways of recruiting, training or who is in command of the organization.
- Blades of Yana
One of the most mysterious organisations within the Lightning military. It isn't entirely known to the public or most of the military what the tasks are of the Blades of Yana. It is so far known that they operate independently from the regular military. How they conduct their affairs, who leads them or what their main objectives are nothing but hunches and guesses. Some veterans assume that the Blades of Yana are composed out of ANBU and other elite operatives - to join the ranks of the mysterious organisation.