In March, the government presented its new strategy for the Norwegian arms industry – Cooperation for security – National defense industrial strategy for a high-tech and future-oriented defense (Report to the Storting 17, 2020–2021). With this, a mutually reinforcing collaboration between the state and the arms industry will be further developed and strengthened. As the Norwegian arms industry already has more than 75 per cent of its revenues from munitions exports, this strategy must also be understood as a policy for promoting Norwegian arms exports.
The government's strategy is based on the fact that the munitions industry is important for the country. In addition to the industry's exports generating large revenues, the arms industry secures approximately 5000 jobs in Norway. This has significant regional ripple effects. The fact that the Norwegian arms industry also has 2000 employees abroad shows that Norway is also an attractive partner for other countries' arms industry and authorities.
In addition to the industry's exports generating large revenues, the arms industry secures approximately 5000
jobs in Norway. This has significant regional ripple effects.
The strategy's goal is also to ensure international market access for the Norwegian arms industry. It also wants to strengthen cooperation between the Armed Forces, which uses the weapons, Norwegian research communities that develop new war technology, and the arms industry itself. Norwegian arms industry research is at the forefront of, for example, missile technology, cryptotechnology and integrated combat systems. This is due to government support and international cooperation. With this triangular collaboration between the defense sector, the research communities and the arms industry, Norway has established a distinctive military-industrial complex. This co-operation model now contributes to increased political pressure to open up for even more arms exports from Norway.
The Government's strategy also considers international market access to be crucial for the arms industry's ability to maintain production volume, competence and technology development. This is again understood as crucial in order to be able to support the Norwegian defense. It is this logic that makes the government consider increased arms exports to be in the country's national security policy interest. In addition, arms exports make Norway a useful ally, which is also important for foreign policy.
With this strategy, the government will increase the state's support for the arms industry's exports through targeted use of many instruments. For example, the government will further subsidize the development of munitions and use the state's many arms more efficiently to market Norwegian weapons abroad. This connection between industry and the state includes both the Foreign Service's embassies, Innovation Norway, the Ministry of Defense, state visits and all kinds of support for exhibitions, fairs and demonstrations of Norwegian war material abroad.
The government is also arranging for arms exports to provide repurchase agreements, which is now called "industrial cooperation". The point is the same anyway: When Norwegian procurements of munitions from other countries, Norway lays down guidelines for the Norwegian arms industry to also get contracts from those we buy from.
Such "industrial cooperation" is both a protectionist and a security policy tool. The Government believes that such agreements are crucial for ensuring the Norwegian arms industry the necessary market access internationally. This is because the arms market has no open competition.
Since strategic exports by definition affect the military capability of foreign powers, trade in this way is of course also characterized by security policy. Today's market for munitions is still undergoing significant liberalization. However, as long as arms trade is crucial to the national security of states, trade barriers will always exist. Thus, the arms industry, which has the most active state behind it, with clear requirements for repurchases of its own weapons procurement, will also have clear advantages over its competitors.
The new defense industrial strategy will be discussed in the Storting's foreign and
Defense Committeeé in the near future.