Norway: Chief of Defence’s comments on the long-term defence plan

Source: Norwegian Armed Forces

On Friday 5 April, the Norwegian government presented its long-term plan for the Norwegian defence sector. Below are Chief of Defence Eirik Kristoffersen's comments on the government's long-term plan.

 

The government has introduced an ambitious long-term plan for the defence sector, proposing a comprehensive strengthening of the Armed Forces. A more serious security situation necessitates increased investment in the Armed Forces as a correct and important priority. The long-term plan aligns with the Chief of Defence’s military advice “Security in uncertain times”, as well as other advice and input. It outlines a set of challenges and a necessary strengthening of defence capability that is widely agreed upon. The plan emphasises a balance between tasks, structure, and resources, both in the short and longer term.

This ambitious long-term plan imposes a significant implementation responsibility on the entire defence sector. It is a responsibility the Armed Forces undertake with great seriousness, and with the knowledge that it is correct to spend more of the community’s resources on security in the coming years. The long-term plan is a significant joint effort for the defence sector, requiring good control, collaboration, and high implementation capacity.

 

 

Since the professional military advice was delivered, it has become even more important to strengthen the Armed Forces. Russia’s rearmament is progressing faster than previously expected. Increasing great power rivalry means European countries must take greater responsibility within the framework of NATO, and although Swedish and Finnish membership strengthens the alliance, it also entails increased responsibility for Norway as a reception and transit country for military reinforcements for the entire Nordic region.

 

Strengthening the Armed Forces

The long-term plan takes comprehensive measures to increase the Armed Forces’ combat capability and strengthens the factors the Armed Forces depend on in a good and responsible manner. The focus on personnel and competence, infrastructure, spare parts, and ammunition is fundamental to strengthen the current structure and facilitate better utilisation of the Armed Forces’ capacities. The ability for increased presence, surveillance, and command and control will contribute to improved situational understanding. Here, the government’s focus on space and long-range drones is central. Together with the Fleet Plan of 2024, these are important contributions to strengthen control over Norway’s vast sea areas and Norwegian territory.

Modernisation of the surface fleet in the Navy is crucial for our defence capability. The new fleet plan provides long-term stability and predictability in the development of the Navy. Standardisation will lead to increased availability and more efficient maintenance of new vessels.

 

 

Long-term stability and predictability can also contribute to skills development and the establishment of greater capacity in Norwegian industry, thereby strengthening national defence capability and preparedness.

The focus on air defence is absolutely necessary, as the war in Ukraine has shown. Technology development is rapid, but NASAMS has proven effective, and it is therefore right to invest more in what we already have first. Air defence also needs to be strengthened at multiple levels, from anti-drone capabilities to long-range air defence.

Strengthening the Army, the Home Guard, and the Special Forces provides the Armed Forces with increased capacity for our national defence. Additionally, the Armed Forces will have a better ability to contribute to NATO’s collective defence, in the Nordics or other parts of NATO’s area of responsibility.

The government’s focus on the personnel in the Armed Forces is a fundamental prerequisite for further growth, and the long-term plan introduces a number of positive personnel and competence measures. These measures provide greater flexibility to develop and strengthen the focus on personnel and competence areas moving forward.

 

 

 

In the years to come, it will be crucial to be able to respond to changes in the security situation and exploit continuous technological development. The Armed Forces have experience with quickly translating new technology and knowledge into operational use, through an innovative approach in close collaboration between the defence, research, and industry sectors. This requires necessary collaboration between the defence sector, research environments, and the business sector. Therefore, it is positive that the government has found room for significant investment in innovation, climate adaptation, and research and development.

 

Implementation

The Armed Forces and the defence sector bear a great responsibility for quickly achieving the effects of the resources prioritised for increased defence capability. Many countries will strengthen their defences in the coming years. Therefore, production capacity and delivery capability are under great pressure, and prices are rising. For this long-term plan to have the effect that the Parliament, the Government, and the people of Norway expect, improved collaboration in the defence sector as well as modernisation and efficiency improvements in maintenance and procurement processes are crucial.

The sector reform being carried out in the defence sector should contribute to better cooperation, collaboration, and clearer responsibilities. Faster, more efficient, and more flexible implementation does not happen by itself. Therefore, the plan must have sufficient flexibility and leeway to make cross-prioritisations to ensure the best possible implementation. As Chief of Defence, it is my task to translate Parliament’s decisions into increased operational capability in the Armed Forces in a way that makes the best possible use of society’s total resources.

 

 

The government’s long-term plan for the defence sector is a clear response to a more serious security situation. The government is introducing an ambitious, and absolutely necessary focus. It will make Norway far better equipped to face the security situation and takes powerful measures to create a solid Norwegian defence capability within the framework of NATO. When the Parliament makes its decision on the long-term plan, leaders in the defence sector must ensure a good and efficient implementation.

 

Source: Norwegian Armed Forces.

 

 

 

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