‘Made in US’: Norway’s New Defence Plan Sparks Strong Criticism

Despite promising lavish expenditure, the long-term plan has been criticised by military professionals, local politicians and the country’s parliamentary opposition alike as “too weak”, “insufficient” and threatening to draw Norway into a superpower struggle.

A revised version of the long-term defence plan has been presented by Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen after the opposition sent it back for refinement earlier this year.

Among others, the government will spend NOK 8.3 billion ($890 billion) more on the Armed Forces until 2021 and NOK 16.5 billion (nearly $1.8 billion) more until 2028.

The government intends to increase staffing with more specialists and crews, strengthen Brigade North with a battalion and increased firepower, acquire new tanks, and continue the development of land defences in the Arctic Circle in Finnmark County, which borders Russia, establish a new task squadron for the special forces, and further continue the modernisation of the Home Guard. On the material level, the plan features the procurement of tanks and long-range precision weapons, as well as the phasing-in of new helicopters to replace the Bell-412.

“The government works purposefully to strengthen both social security and state security. We want to create a safer Norway. Norway must be prepared to handle crises, serious incidents and threats,” Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said, as quoted by national broadcaster NRK.

One of the focal points of the plan is to…

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