Norwegian Defence Commission proposes new level of ambition

The Norwegian Defence Commission launched its report on the 3rd of May 2023. The Commission describes an extremely challenging security environment for Norway and proposes a significant increase in defence spending.

Norwegian Defence Commissions have generally been established at times of fundamental geopolitical change. This is the fourth Commission since World War 2 and the first since the end of the Cold War. It was appointed by the Norwegian government in December 2021 and tasked to provide advice on matters of national security in a 10-20-year perspective and what consequences this should have for the development of Norway´s Armed Forces.

The Commission concludes that the post-Cold War era has been replaced by a period defined by a dangerous Russia and intensified geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States as the dominating actors. Trade, technology, and energy have once again become security policy. Securing value chains that support vital interests and societal functions is becoming more important. Rapid changes, technological advances and digital transformation bring challenges and vulnerabilities as well as opportunities. Meeting these challenges requires national and international cooperation and interaction across sectors and domains.

With its exceptionally strong economic position, Norway has ample opportunity to adapt to the gravity of the situation. The Norwegian Armed Forces must grow, and Norway’s readiness must improve. A new and historic national conversation on defence and security is needed. The Defence Commission recommends a unifying political solution to this challenge: a binding political agreement across all political parties to secure a long-term strengthening of the defence of Norway, including a significant increase in Norwegian defence spending.

Norwegian Defence Commission 2021 – English short version

Norwegian Defence Commission 2021 – English short version (Audio version)

An increased level of ambition should be achieved through three distinct and simultaneous steps:

The Norwegian Defense Commission proposes a three-step plan to increase defense spending, which it has calculated will provide Norway with a balanced military structure capable of meeting necessary requirements:

Leader of the Commission, Knut Storberget, says the report serves as the starting point of a debate on Norway taking up a greater role in allied security at a time when the resources of many western allies are under considerable pressure:

“We are in a new security situation. Europe must take far greater responsibility for its own security. Norway’s defense capabilities are not adapted to this challenge. This requires a national debate on the defence of Norway to ensure that we invest in what is most important: our peace and freedom”.