Defence technology developed in Norway plays an integral part in all defence platforms currently operated by the Norwegian armed forces. Increased interaction between the Norwegian armed forces and the defence industry is a fundamental pre-condition if we are to succeed in creating a leaner, lighter and more deployable defence system.
The members of NATO have agreed to implement a military transformation. This requires changing the structure of our military forces, our military culture and doctrine and streamlining our warfare functions.
An efficient and co-ordinated transformation effort imposes the need for reciprocal efforts from both sides of the Atlantic. In the transformation process, we must ensure efficient and relevant European input. Or to put it differently: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It shouldn't matter on which side of the Atlantic an idea originates, as long as it is good. The most difficult question to answer is how do we do it?
The answer is what I usually refer to as the Norwegian "four-legged plan". First, we must review existing and planned national assets and capabilities in order to make them more relevant to current security challenges. Second, we need more specialisation. The Alliance has to give increased attention to the need for a division of labour. Smaller specialised units, operating within important functional niches, will enhance the Alliance's overall capabilities and strengthen its ability to respond swiftly and decisively. Third, we have to identify partners and expand co-operation among groups of Allies. New and smaller Allies must find specific strategic partners within the Alliance in order to form teams for closer co-operation with a particular focus on both enhancing existing capabilities and developing new ones. And fourth: it also makes sense to make use of multinational funding in order to fulfil a few specific and large multilateral projects. A NATO Airborne Ground Surveillance capability is a good, top priority example of such a project.
To do this, the Alliance has to foster specialisation and division of military labour, and member states will need strategic partners within the Alliance. In that respect, big ideas are not reserved for bigger nations only. That is an inspiration and a challenge for the smaller Allies. Concentrated efforts will pay off.
How we choose to implement our forces against a determined and mobile enemy is also important. In the future we must be able to get the right forces quickly to where we need them, make better use of intelligence to identify the threat, decide how to deal with it, and then strike. We will make this possible by adapting Network-centric warfare. The development of network-enabled capabilities will allow us to meet the requirements of high speed operations.
In order for Norway to play a meaningful and relevant role in these processes we need to develop areas of operational expertise, areas where we have unique world class capabilities to offer. In much the same way that all of our friends and allies are focusing on their particular skills, we must find and exploit niche expertise. Our new security environment demands enhanced co-operation between like-minded nations. As Norway's operational capabilities are being streamlined to fit today's security environment, we need a defence industry that adheres to the same principles. This means more international co-operation through joint ventures or international programs and the creation of national areas of defence industry excellence.
Military transformation must also affect the way defence companies operate and prioritise. I know that Norwegian based defence companies have the know-how, skills and the intellectual capital to contribute to this evolving process. By seeking international partners, I am convinced that technology developed in Norway will continue to be a valuable contribution to improved military preparedness at both the national and international levels.
Kristin Krohn Devold
The Norwegian Minister of Defence