The Norwegian government continues to give priority to the defence sector in its annual budget proposal through a NOK 3 billion increase in 2018. It shows the government’s commitment to increase defence spending every year to meet the ambitions set out in the Long-Term Plan “Capable and sustainable” for the defence sector for the years 2017-2020. In a more complex and dangerous world, Norway continues to invest in its Armed Forces.
“In developing the Armed Forces capabilities, the government continues to invest in defence in order to achieve the ambitious goals set out in the Long-Term Plan for the period 2017–2020. In 2017 we increased the budget with NOK 1,48 billion in order to close identified gaps in maintenance, spare parts and stockpiling. The 2018 budget allows us to continue closing these gaps while simultaneously implementing the second phase of the plan; improved readiness levels, increased manning in our combat units and increased training and exercise levels,” stated the minister of defence, Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Of the NOK 3 billion increase, over NOK 2 billion are allotted to the measures set forth in the Long-Term Plan. In addition, funding for acquisition of three new Coast Guard vessels, participation in international operations and hosting NATOs High Visibility Exercise Trident Juncture in 2018, are provided funding in the budget proposal.
The Long-Term Plan has a three-phased approach with subsequent building blocks to ensure a sustainable balance between resources, capabilities and ambitions. The first phase began in 2017 with increased allocations to maintenance, spare parts and stockpiling.
The second phase with reduced readiness levels, increased manning in Norwegian combat units and increased training and exercise levels, provides for a better trained, properly manned and equipped force structure, with and increased ability to react timely.
The third phase, set to begin in 2019, continues a high level of investment and provides for the acquisition in new strategic capabilities to maintain situational awareness and control in the high north.
The NOK 3 billion increase in 2018 provides for:
-- Increased manning of the frigates and increased sailing time
-- Acquisition of Ground Based Air Defence capabilites for the Army
-- Establishment of a new ranger company in Finnmark
-- A smooth transition from F-16 to F-35 combat aircraft.
-- The continued building at Ørland air station for the new F-35 fighter jets
-- The preparation of Evenes air station, which will house new P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and be a forward operation base for the F-35 combat aircraft
-- A high level of activity for the Norwegian Navy and Coast Guard
-- Reception and implementation of the new supply ship HNoMS Maud
“The budget proposal strengthens our armed forces. Together with our Allies we have pledged to increase defense spending in order to protect our mutual values, security and interests at home and abroad. Our aim is to ensure that the armed forces have the training, equipment and support necessary for their work. This budget provides for exactly that,” states the minister of defence.