Defense budget sees ‘real’ increase

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A Norwegian military expert is calling the defense portion of the new state budget proposal “dramatic,” because it shows the government is taking new tensions and Norway’s security situation seriously indeed.

Nils Holme, former chief of the defense department’s research institute and a respected auditor, has earlier revealed glossy defense budgets that did not deliver real growth. This year, he told newspaper Aftenposten, the defense budget reflects what officials have promised and shows a “real increase” in funding of around 10 percent.

The ministry itself sets the increase at 12.1 percent, with funding boosted from NOK 43.9 billion to NOK 49 billion for next year.

“We’re delivering on what the defense chief asked for,” Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told Aftenposten. She cited increased funding of NOK 370 million to the military intelligence agency E-tjenesten, NOK 320 million more (“exactly what the Navy asked for”) for maintenance and money to ensure its presence in the Arctic with submarines and other vessels. Søreide said much of the money was earmarked to make up for years of negligence in maintaining defense equipment.

Asked whether rising tensions with Russia and current security concerns were behind the defense ministry winning increased budget allocations, she said yes, “and that we in fact have believed for quite a while that defense should get more funding.”

newsinenglish.no staff