Military personnel from all branches of the Norwegian defense forces will no longer need to travel in uniform or otherwise use their uniforms in public when they’re off duty. The requirement was dropped Thursday as a direct result of the new terror threats lodged against Norwegian police, military and political leaders.
The change was effective immediately, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense on Thursday. Until now, even off-duty enlisted soldiers have had to wear their their uniforms while traveling, also in order to receive the travel discounts to which they’re entitled.
Defense (Forsvaret) officials said that military personnel won’t be ordered to travel in civilian clothing while moving about in public. Instead, they’ll now get the same opportunity to choose when they want to wear their uniforms while traveling and off duty.
Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) announced Wednesday that the threat of a terrorist attack in Norway had once again risen, and that police, military and political leaders were now the main targets. The higher threat level is also a response to the recent series of isolated attacks carried out by extremist Muslims against police, military personnel and politicians in Canada, the UK and the US.
PST has said an attack in Norway, which is contributing to the battle against violent Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq, is expected within the next 12 months but that the threat situation can extend much longer.
The removal of uniform requirements among members of the Norwegian Navy, Air Force and Army is aimed at making military personnel less visible in public. Norwegian police, however, will continue to wear uniforms when on duty, said the state police director, Odd Reidar Humlegård.