According to Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen; “It is the Government’s recommendation that the Armed Forces should be strengthened, both over the forthcoming four-year period and thereafter. This is a plan for building up the Armed Forces, not cutting them back.”
What security challenges do we face in 2008 and in the future? And how will these affect the shaping of our defence and security policy? A balanced and prepared Armed Forces is a top priority for the Norwegian Government, signaled by our plan to increase the overall defence budget by nearly 800 million Norwegian Crowns.
The Norwegian defence industry will continue to benefit from the short- and long term strategies of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, strategies that call for a budget increase that will allow strategic investments in the country’s northern regions while at the same time maintaining sound national defence in addition to providing international support according to treaties and agreements.
At the same time, the emphasis on a continued strengthening of investment, Research & Development,and manufacturing within the defence industry is in focus with an ongoing effort to increase Norwegian industry’s access to foreign markets. The guiding document in this process is the White Paper (St.meld. nr. 38 (2006 – 2007)) “The Armed Forces and Industry – strategic partners”, providing incentives and facilitating the continued development of a strong relationship between defence and industry. At the same time, and most importantly from a defence perspective, the mechanisms that will ensure the ongoing Armed Forces access to competence, materiel, services – and solutions are in place.
Strength at Home – Support Abroad
The Norwegian Government takes Norway’s international responsibilities very seriously. The UN and NATO are the bedrock on which Norway’s security policy is based. We will continue to make substantial contributions to international operations.
This international support is balanced with the ongoing emphasis on military strength and preparedness on a national level. This emphasis is well-coordinated with the long-term planning to bring into focus the strengthening of the northern areas, addressing the tasks and challenges that are faced in the sea areas outside of the Norwegian coastline, and at the same time enhancing the national armed forces in general:
- Strengthening of the Army, increasing numbers as well as increasing preparation and training for operations
- Enhancing the operational capabilities of the Navy by commissioning new helicopter-equipped frigates and MTB, also continuing to give priority to the Coast Guard.
- A stronger Air Force will be the result as a new transport aircraft is phased in and helicopter facilities are consolidated.
- Manpower numbers will be increased.
Transparency and Social Responsibility
Transparency, social responsibility, and the highest of ethics are the key words in any business, but especially within the Norwegian defence industry. It was with this in mind that the Norwegian Ministry of Defence developed and issued the “Ethical Guidelines”. In the interest of the defence sector’s reputation in society and the general trust of the population on which we rely, it is essential that these guidelines be complied with.
The Norwegian defence industry’s reputation for technological expertise and quality combined with the highest of ethics is a valuable tool in helping Norwegian industry gain access to an increasing number of foreign markets. This combined with the Norwegian Defence Industry’s emphasis on offset agreements as well as the building of military strength is continuing to build valuable synergies both nationally and internationally.
The Norwegian Minister of Defence