NATO is now renewing its military planning. According to Defense Chief Erik Kristofferson, it is possible that Norwegian defense will become part of the area of responsibility of the new NATO Joint Command Center in the US city of Norfolk.
– Synchronization of geography and military planning. Just look at the map: the areas in the North Atlantic with Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland and Great Britain are a natural geographic area, so it’s only natural that we belong to driving in Norfolk. But that is ultimately up to the politicians to decide, Kristofferson tells VG.
Both the Chief of Defense and Defense Minister Björn Arild Gram (Spain) have recommended such a solution.
We are convinced, after all, that the Norfolk Joint Force Command’s area of responsibility will include Norway, among other things. We worked for it, Gram tells VG.
The formal decision to transfer leadership to Norfolk in NATO is expected to be made during the first half of 2023.
From Bronsum to Norfolk
The NATO Command for the Defense of Norway has so far been governed by the NATO Joint Command Center in Brunssum, the Netherlands.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Kristofferson says, NATO activated its planning system so that Bronsum’s command was put in charge of Norway.
This means that we have placed the Headquarters of Armed Forces Operations Command, FOH, under Brunssum’s command to coordinate military activity in our immediate areas. The defense minister says the head of state now has a national cap and a NATO cap.
In the years following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, we revised Norway’s defense plans, and NATO is reviewing its plans, in the direction of more dedicated troops being trained for their specific missions. Our strongest partner, Kristofferson says, is the deal with the US Marines.
Currently, there is an internal discussion at NATO about whether Norfolk should take responsibility for the entire Nordic region, including Sweden and Finland, when they become full members of NATO.
You want the same
Defense chief Erik Kristofferson says the four Nordic chiefs of defense have made a strong recommendation to their governments that the Nordic countries be placed under the same command as NATO.
Cooperation in the Nordic countries is close and good. Therefore, it does not make sense militarily for us to be under different orders. So this is our advice. But in our joint recommendation, nothing is mentioned about what we should be connected to, Kristoffersen tells VG.
According to VG information, Finland has a clear desire to be associated with Norfolk. The desire to strengthen allies from the United States was a central premise when the country decided to apply for membership in NATO and give up the freedom of the alliance.
Link to the United States of America
Stian Jensen, Chief of Staff of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, describes Norway’s role when NATO expands:
With Finland and Sweden as the new members, Norway has become more important to defend Europe and to bond with the USA. Norway will be very crucial in bringing reinforcements not only to the Nordic regions, but also to the entire Baltic region. This will be reflected in new NATO planning work, Jensen tells VG.
I had to update
NATO’s Chief of Staff says the alliance’s political leadership is awaiting a final recommendation from NATO’s Supreme Military Commander (Sasur), US General Christopher J. Cavoli, before finally adopting the new military plans.
After many years in which NATO was involved in operations outside the core region, such as in Afghanistan, there were no troops or plans to defend Europe. But a huge amount has happened in recent years. Now new construction is in the works, with a new force structure, significantly better preparedness, new defensive plans and dedicated troops, Jensen says.
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