Defense minister blasts sexual harassment

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Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen lashed out at sexual harassment in the armed forces, during his annual address to the military organization Oslo Militære Samfund earlier this week. He was clearly unhappy that efforts to hinder it have not succeeded.

Frank Bakke-Jensen, delivering the defense minister’s annual address. PHOTO: Forsvaret

“The defense chief (Admiral Haakon Bruun Hanssen) has said that sexual harassment makes him furious,” said Bakke-Jensen, who represents the Conservative Party. “That’s putting it mildly, in my eyes.”

Bakke-Jensen referred to a recent article in the defense department’s own  Forsvarets Forum that reported how the military still hasn’t managed to conquer sexual harassment. He called that unacceptable, and claimed that “every single leader in the sector has a huge responsibility to prevent bullying and harassment. I expect everyone to be clear about that.”

Bakke-Jensen also addressed the “challenges” Russia is posing to the US and all western allies, calling it Norway’s “main concern.” He also pointed to ongoing cooperation between Norway and Russia in the Arctic that’s closely followed by NATO allies and helps secure the area.

He also noted that he couldn’t talk about major acquisitions within the military sector without mentioning the loss of the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad. ” It’s a loss we will feel the consequences of for a long, long time,” Bakke-Jensen said. Norway can still meet its military obligations in the short term without the frigate, he said, “but we must find out how we can keep the loss from having a lasting effect,” adding that measures for doing that will be presented in the spring.

He once again tried to put a positive spin on the disaster, noting how glad he was that “all the 137 on board could celebrate the holidays with their loved ones,” and that they were “well-trained and prepared for accident situations.”

newsinenglish.no staff