Senior Course 132 ‘Regional Approaches and PfP’ Field Study: Norway
The third Field Study of Senior Course 132 focused on the Nordic region.
On 12 June 2018, Senior Course 132 was in Norway and started its programme by meeting Ms Tone Skogen, State Secretary of Defence, in the facilities of the Norwegian Armed Forces in Oslo. She offered her views on the developments along NATO’s eastern borders, while placing emphasis on the provision of the necessary capabilities for credible deterrence, and on budgetary developments. She also spoke about the important topics that are likely to be discussed at the next Summit in Brussels. She was followed by Prof. Rolf Tamnes, from the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. His lecture broadened Course Members’ understanding of Norwegian security policy from an academic perspective. He underlined that Norway is facing traditional and new security threats, such as cyber. Then he outlined Norway's domestic security policy priorities, as well as external priorities which focus on the North, NATO and the Transatlantic link, Europe, Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) and bilateral cooperation. He underlined that the priorities are driven by the fact that Norway seeks protection in a strong, liberal, rules-based international system.
He was followed by Ms Elisabeth Gabrielsen, Director at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, who talked about the management of living marine resources in Norwegian waters. She described Norway’s position in the international seafood market and explained other,related scientific issues, regulations and the enforcement system using the Coast Guards. She stated that Norwegian catches are fished mainly from shared stocks and that controlling fishing on shared fish stocks requires close cooperation between the coastal states. She gave examples of bilateral and coastal state fish stock management negotiations (for example with Russia).
After a break, Rear Admiral Louise K. Denichen, Commander of the Norwegian Defence University College took the floor to talk about gender in the Armed Forces. She shared some of Norway’s experiences with gender neutral conscription, with a special focus on the cultural changes involved. With “more than 20% of conscripts, it’s all about attitude”, she said. She also explained why, after successful conscription, it is difficult to keep women for long term careers in the military.
The last briefing of the morning was given by Deputy Director Kristian Jervell from the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke about the northernmost part of Norway: the Svalbard archipelago. He explained the historical significance of the archipelago (named in 1925, with the main island becoming Spitsbergen), the key parts of the Svalbard Treaty, in which there are agreements and disagreements, and how it relates to Norwegian policy. He also explained that there is no limit to immigration in the archipelago, but that it is not part of the Schengen area.
The afternoon programme started with a session on oil and gas activities. Mr Ole Anders Lindseth, Director-General at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, provided Course Members with information on the projected global energy mix between 2013-2040, and gave the different views on these projections. He explained how energy savings and energy efficiency should be put on the agenda of other countries and gave details on how sustainable resource management is conducted in Norway, which aims at the balancing of economic activity, the social dimension and climate /environmental concerns. Course Members appreciated this opportunity to receive detailed information on the delimitation lines and continental shelf areas in the Arctic.
The second and last briefing of the afternoon was held by LtGen Erik Gustavson, Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Defence (DCHOD). He gave Norway's interpretation on global and regional security challenges and reconfirmed his country's commitments to NATO common defence, deterrence and security. He, then, gave details on the logic of the defence planning review, on external factors affecting the Norwegian security environment and their consequences, such as the armed forces’ new technical capabilities and financial requirements. He placed special emphasis on the use of new technologies which include improved availability, readiness, endurance, increased activity and presence, and investment in vital capabilities (surveillance, submarines, air defence, intelligence and fighter aircraft). The speaker also paid special attention to the sustainability issue within the framework of the new defence plan, covering the budget increase, continued modernization and efficiency measures as well as force structure adjustments. He also commented on the Norwegian concept of “Total Defence” involving the whole of society.
A final panel was organized to conclude the day in which the Chief of Defence Staff and Ms Barbor Hugaas, Deputy Director for National Security Policy, Crisis Management and Readiness at the Ministry of Defence, answered questions from SC132.
Closing remarks were given by LtGen Chris Whitecross, Commandant of the NDC, who expressed the NDC delegation’s gratitude for the intensive programme of talks and the excellent hospitality extended to Senior Course 132 in Oslo.