New battles loom over defense plan

NEWS ANALYSIS: Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen still has to fend off more attacks on the government’s long-term defense plan, even after his second-try at winning support for it in Parliament. Opposition politicians and military officers think it’s still too weak, despite government claims that it will strengthen both local and national security. “The government is […]

Frigate loss didn’t hurt Navy chief

He led Norway’s naval defense when naval officers on board one of the country’s five frigates collided with a tanker in 2018 and later had to be scrapped. The frigate disaster hasn’t seemed to hurt the career of Vice-Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, though, after he was promoted and appointed as the new chief of Norway’s […]

Russia retaliates in espionage case

Norway’s foreign ministry confirmed on Friday that one of its diplomats in Moscow is being expelled from Russia, after Norway expelled a Russian diplomat last week. The retaliation was not unexpected as both countries accuse the other of spying. Jan Flæte, who carried the title of ambassaderåd at Norway’s embassy in Moscow, is being declared […]

Defense minister downplays US pullout

Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen is downplaying local media reports about how the US Marine Corps is withdrawing around 700 troops from Norway. He admits the Marines will have “considerably fewer soldiers in Norway on a daily basis,” but will continue to send personnel to Norway in connection with joint military exercises. “American forces will […]

Man admits selling state info to Russia

Norway’s police intelligence agency PST has charged a Norwegian man in his 50s with espionage after arresting him in an Oslo restaurant over the weekend. He has since admitted selling information to Russian agents that PST considers to be state secrets.  State broadcaster NRK reported Monday night that the man, an employee of Oslo-based classification […]

Frigate sank after rules were broken

Fully 53 of 88 applicable safety rules and “barriers” were broken before one of Norway’s five frigates collided with an oil tanker near its home port nearly two years ago. The Norwegian defense department’s own report also noted that the crew on the bridge of the KNM Helge Ingstad had little experience. “Even though all […]

Russia plans new exercises in Arctic

Just weeks after NATO conducted military exercises in the Barents Sea, and now has forced Norway’s northern city of Tromsø to receive nuclear-powered submarines, Russia is responding with major exercises of its own. Russian officials are calling the NATO exercises off Norway a “provocation,” while the Norwegians say they haven’t been officially informed about them. […]

New chief’s been in battles before

For the first time since World War II, Norway is getting a defense chief with battle experience. Now General Major Eirik Johan Kristoffersen will need to take on a new sort of battle, for political support and funding to develop Norway’s armed forces. Kristoffersen holds what commentators, politicians and fellow soldiers have called an “impressive” background. […]

New chief inherits battle over defense

NEWS ANALYSIS: General Major Eirik Johan Kristoffersen won’t take over as Norway’s new defense chief until August, but he already faces intense political conflicts over defense spending and plans for the country’s armed forces. Never before have Norway’s government and Parliament been more at odds, at a time when NATO is under severe pressure and […]

US and Britain flex muscle in the Arctic

Four US Navy ships and one from Britain have been sailing in the waters off Norway’s North Cape this week, without any vessels from their NATO ally sailing with them. Defense analysts calls it a strategic display of force, which Norway must follow closely. The Kirkenes-based Barents Observer reported Tuesday that the American and British vessels […]