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A common boost

Norway has gradually come into a more challenging security policy situation, which requires significant measures to strengthen the Norwegian defense. This is among the conclusions of a recent report presented last week.


As part of the work on the Defense's long-term plan, the Ministry of Defense set up an expert group – also known as the "Expert Group for the Defense of Norway" – 15. December 2014. The group was appointed by Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, and was tasked with delivering an ungraded report on the Defense's conditions in order to be able to solve its most demanding tasks related to any security political crisis and war. The report was to be completed by May 2015, and also be a contribution to the debate on whether today's Norwegian defense is suitable to avert and meet challenges related to Norwegian and Allied security. New risk picture. The result – "A Joint Lift" – was presented on April 28, when the head of the expert group Rolf Tamnes presented the report to the Minister of Defense. The group has analyzed developments in the short term – the next four years, and in the long term – over the next 20-30 years. "The expert group's report is an important academic input to the new long-term defense plan, but it is also an important contribution to the public debate," she says, adding that she wants an open and lively defense debate in the future, and that "a common lifting 'lays a good foundation for this. In recent years, Norway has gradually come into a tougher security policy situation, which requires significant measures to strengthen the Norwegian defense, according to the report. It is pointed out that several factors have contributed to the fact that we have a new threat and risk picture, and that Norwegian security policy is entering a new phase. At the same time, it is stated that the new tasks are too big for Norway alone – which will mean that the Armed Forces, the large community and Norway's allies must work together to make the necessary joint promise, thus creating a new normal situation. “The defense must spend more of its resources on operational activities, and the large community must provide its services through military service, total defense and a sound financial framework. Norway must also contribute to building a strong NATO by intensifying cooperation with its close allies. At the same time, the neighborhood with Russia must be managed wisely, based on common interests, ”the report states. NATO important. It points to five priority areas or functions that are particularly important for creating a strong, war-prevention defense: Better intelligence and surveillance, a more robust management apparatus for crisis management, a credible deterrent capability, Norwegian and allied forces ready at short notice and continuous Norwegian presence in vulnerable areas, as well as better support for military forces. As important as a common lift is the principle of simultaneity in planning and operations: The Armed Forces must have their needs for logistics and supplies covered where needed and when needed. "The defense must be able to be used, and therefore restructured. The frigates must be able to sail more, and more aircraft must be available at short notice, not least in the north, "says group leader Tamnes to Ny Tid. Norway has participated in eight wars since 1990. This figure indicates that we are in second place in the world in war outside our own territory – at the same time as the vast majority of the world's nations have not participated in war in the last two decades. "As the situation is now, the Norwegian Armed Forces is widely used in international operations. But the Armed Forces' first task is to defend the country. This task has been neglected, "says Tamnes.

The Norwegian defense is widely used in international operations, while the home defense has been neglected.

It is important to remember that Norway is a small country that is dependent on other states. NATO thus plays a crucial role. Article 5 of the Defense Alliance – which states that attacks on a NATO country is an attack on the alliance – is the most important basis for collective self-defense, he points out. End of "the deep peace". The Ukraine crisis heralds the end of "deep peace" in Europe. For the first time since World War II, a European state has conquered part of a neighboring country, which has significantly worsened relations between Russia and the western countries. At the same time, the Russian military capability has increased, making the asymmetry of the Norwegian-Russian power relationship clearer. This also poses an increased threat when it comes to the northern areas. Russia will therefore be the most important factor in Norwegian defense planning for the foreseeable future, the report states. "Russia has violated Ukraine's independence, which is unacceptable. The court must go before the power. Russia is not part of the Western Security Community, and it is difficult to determine how this relationship will develop, "says Tamnes. He adds that Russian foreign policy can take a more positive turn, but that it can also be more demanding for Norway and NATO. Much indicates that Asia-Pacific is emerging as a new center of gravity. "In the report, we have drawn a broad picture of the geostrategic situation, with China becoming the dominant factor in addition to the United States. What this will mean for the United States is unclear – and whether the United States has the surplus to safeguard its interests in Europe. In any case, the United States will increasingly expect Europeans to take responsibility for the security situation in Europe themselves, ”he says. Stabilization. In addition to focusing on Russia and China, the report points out that there is a belt of weak states from North Africa to Central Asia, and that this brings with it instability and armed conflict. This region is unstable because "attempts at 'regime change', primarily driven by the United States, have failed" and this has "left behind weak leadership, state dissolution and further breeding ground for extremism".

"The US will increasingly expect Europeans to take responsibility for the security situation in Europe themselves." Rolf Tamnes

When it comes to participating in foreign operations, there are no good results so far. Libya is a terrifying example of how a country with "help" from, among others, Norway has been brought across the border to total chaos, with much more suffering now than before the so-called humanitarian intervention. To prevent weak states from destabilizing other countries in the region and being used as sanctuaries for planning terrorist attacks against Western countries, the report concludes, regardless of the need for international support for many years to come. At the same time, terrorism, data attacks and long-range missiles are testament to the fact that geographical distance is less important than before. “In addition to the conventional threats, the global security policy landscape is increasingly characterized by a number of unconventional threats such as international terrorism, organized crime, computer attacks and piracy. Many of the challenges are not primarily about war, but about social security, ”says Tamnes. Budget. There has been a great deal of debate recently regarding defense budgeting. Several Allied countries have severely cut their defense budgets as a result of the economic crisis, while both China and Russia have prepared themselves. All in all, this implies an increased demand for Norway to contribute to its own and European security. The United States requires that we spend at least two percent of our budget on military spending, and at NATO's Cardiff meeting in Wales on September 4 and 5, 2014, a separate statement on the transatlantic band, which states, among other things, that "NATO ties the United States and Europe together in defense of common security, welfare and values". It was decided that NATO would strengthen its readiness, response and combat capabilities, as well as its military capabilities, and increase defense spending by at least 2 percent of gross domestic product within ten years. For Norway, this will mean an increase of NOK 15-16 billion. The expert group settled on a much more moderate level. "In the report, we have landed that the defense budget should be increased by two billion by 2017, which will not burden society much more than is the case today," says Tamnes. The report proposes raising the level of funding to "strengthen intelligence, presence, preparedness, endurance and support for allied activities on Norwegian soil". In addition, the Armed Forces should implement an efficiency program "to reallocate at least NOK 3,5 billion annually to operational activities". According to the report, this should be achieved by the end of 2020.

Papazian is a freelance journalist for Ny Tid.

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