On Friday, Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives) presented the revised long-term plan for the defense sector 2021-2024.
The government will in 2024 spend NOK 8.3 billion more than today on defense, and NOK 16.5 billion more by 2028. According to the press release from the Ministry of Defense, this will represent a steady increase of the defense budget.
“The government adds more than NOK 3 billion in 2021 in a lasting increase to the defense sector and thus follows up the multi-annual commitments from the current long-term plan and initiatives included in the upcoming plan.”
“Meets improvement points”
The government presented its original proposal for a long-temr plan last April. The proposal was returned to the government following criticism from the opposition.
The [Parliamentary] Standing Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense argued that the plan should be improved in several areas, amongst others that the main perspective should be four years, not eight. In its position paper, the Committee argues that the plan should contain an overview over important measures, investments and decisions proposed for the planning period, and that the plan be more concrete with regard to time and figures.
“We have made clear what decisions are to be made over the next couple of years and we provide a further detailed description of the development in the coming years”, Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen says in a statement.
During the press conference, the Minister said that the new long-term plan meets the requirements from parliament, with in-depth information in eight areas requested by the parliament.
“The main perspective of the long-term plan is the coming four-year period. The government has also a clear economic commitment for the long-term plan that also goes beyond this four-year period”, Frank Bakke-Jensen said during the press conference.
The press conference also made it clear that the government will:
- Strengthen the Armed Forces to a level NOK 16.5 billion higher than the current one and continue working on effectivization
- Increase personnel and competence cooperation with the civilian sector
- Increase staff with mor specialists and crew. The majority of the new position are to be prioritized for operative divisions
- Further develop military education through moving the recruit training out from the operative divisions at Madla and Terningmoen
- Strengthen Brigade Nord with a battalion and increased firepower, and acquire new tanks
- further develop the army’s 2nd battalion to a standing division
- Continue building Finnmark land defense
- replace the Bell 412 helicopters with new helicopters for the Army’s Special Forces
- Establish a new task squadron for the Special Forces
- Return to parliament in 2022 regarding the future design of the Sea Defense’s surface structure
- Continue the Skjold class corvettes to maintain operative capacity at sea
- Prolong the life span of the ULA class submarines
- Gradually strengthen the crew of the Sea Defense and strengthen base and air defense divisions up to 2024
- Continue modernization of the homeland security force
High North News will be back with more on the long-term plan.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.