Wants to Further Develop the Cooperation Between the Norwegian Army and Alaskan Forces

U.S. Army Soldiers in Alaska
US Army soldiers keeping watch at a guard post during the regional training exercise Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center - Alaska. The soldiers belong to the 1st Batallion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, in the Alaska-based 11th Airborne Division. (Photo: Senior Airman Patrick Sullivan / U.S. Air Force).

Representatives of the Norwegian Army recently participated as observers in a major military exercise in Alaska. To HNN, Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Andersen of the Army points out more opportunities for cooperation with US Army forces in Alaska.

The US Army recently concluded a large regional military exercise in the state of Alaska.

The exercise, Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Alaska (JPMRC), was organized by the Alaska-based division of the US Army, 11th Airborne Division, in late March - early April. 

“This exercise demonstrates the effectiveness of our Arctic training," said Major General Brian Eifler, head of the 11th Airborne Divison, in a press release.

Representatives of the Norwegian Army were also present as observers of the exercise, which in total included 8000 participants and observers from 12 different countries.

Many common denominators

The purpose of sending observers to this exercise is to further develop the good Norwegian-American defense cooperation. Specifically, it will further develop the relationship between the Norwegian and the US Army in general, but with the US Army Alaska in particular. This will form the basis for further strengthening of joint allied warfare expertise in the Arctic, as well as the possibility for deeper cooperation and exchange in the future.

This is according to the spokesperson for the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, Petty Officer Marius Vågenes Villanger, to High North News.

"The US is Norway's foremost security guarantor and our most important ally. Norway's far north location entails many common denominators with Alaska when it comes to military operations and the ability for collective defense in a challenging Arctic climate," explains Villanger and adds:

"Through mutual allied commitment, strengthening of relations, and further development of the ability to operate seamlessly and effectively in the Arctic, this cooperation will contribute to increased security and stability for NATO in the north."

First time exercising in Norway

High North News has previously reported that the Norwegian and US Army are planning to train more together in the Arctic. Both the Chief of the Norwegian Army, Major General Lars Lervik, and former Chief of the US Army Alaska, Major General Pete Andrysiak, have stated that one is in the process of designing plans for cooperation between the US Army Alaska units and the Norwegian Army.

In May 2022, forces from US Army Alaska (now the 11th Airborne Division) practiced together for the first time in Norway together with the Norwegian Army in Indre Troms, Northern Norway.

The US Armed Forces' training with allies and partners is, among other things, part of the work to implement the US Army's first-ever Arctic strategy, which was launched in 2021.

Wants to further develop cooperation

"Participation in the exercise allowed the Army to further develop relations with both US Army Alaska (USARAK), as well as other actors and partners that operate in Arctic conditions. The Army's representatives could observe how one of our most important allies operates under demanding conditions and how an exercise in Alaska can be carried out to further build Arctic warfare expertise," says Lieutenant Colonel Andreas Andersen, head of the unit for multinational and civil-military cooperation in the Norwegian Army, to HNN.

In addition, Andersen points out that a very important benefit for the Army's participating observers is that they could discuss the opportunities for further cooperation and joint training with USARAK.

How will the defense cooperation between the Army and the US Army Alaska develop in the time coming?

"The Army and USARAK have ambitions to further develop the good cooperation that has been established throughout the past two years. We will cooperate closely through the exchange of expertise and experience in cold weather operations, as well as joint participation in arenas and exercises. We will contribute together with experience and further learn from each other about warfare in the Arctic environment. This will create even better conditions for interoperability."

Are there any specific plans for further cooperation and training activity either in Norway or in Alaska?

"A natural part of the continuation of the cooperation between the Army and USARAK will be to further develop our cooperation through already established training activities that the respective nations have scheduled for the time coming."

"Through closer cooperation with USARAK, the Army will link itself even closer to out on our most important allies. The cooperation will create good conditions for being able to handle a crisis or war situation together, in a demanding environment, should this become necessary," concludes the Lieutenant Colonel.

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.