– Still weak long-term plan – NRK Troms and Finnmark –...

The government will spend 8.3 billion more on the Armed Forces in 2021 and 16.5 billion more in 2028 on the Armed Forces.

The financial framework for the long-term plan is thus the same as before. No more personnel are promised in the new and revised defense plan.

– The government works purposefully to strengthen both social security and state security. We want to create a safer Norway. Norway must be prepared to handle crises, serious incidents and threats, says Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen.

– The work with security and emergency preparedness is something the government has had high on the agenda for a number of years.

Will further develop Brigade North

The government will further develop Brigade North into a mechanized brigade with four battalions with a center of gravity in Inner Troms.

– The strengthening of Brigade North increases the Armed Forces’ ability to prevent or slow down an opponent in taking control of Norwegian territory until allied forces are in place. It will also enable us to increase Norway’s efforts in NATO’s contingency initiative, says the Minister of Defense.

The government announces that they will procure new tanks from 2025, and plans to present the project to the Storting in 2021. At the same time, the government will accelerate the acquisition of long-range precision weapons for the Army from 2028 to 2026

– We will also continue to build up the Finnmark land defense, says Bakke-Jensen.

Photo: Jil Yngland / NTB

– Still weak long-term plan

Union leader, Torbjørn Bongo in the Norwegian Officers ‘and Specialists’ Union (NOF) is disappointed with the long-term plan and thinks it is too weak.

– The proposal is still below the Chief of Defense’s lowest alternative in FMR 2019, and very much below the alternative that the Chief of Defense thought was necessary for the Armed Forces to solve given assignments, he says.

Torbjørn Bongo

The union leader in NOF, Torbjørn Bongo, is disappointed with the revised plan for the Armed Forces.

Photo: NOF

Bongo is particularly concerned that the Army is not being strengthened enough.

– NOF’s main concern is a very inadequate personnel strengthening, too slow and too little strengthening of the army, unrealistic efficiency cuts, privatization hidden in strategic cooperation and no measures to strengthen the incentives for personnel to want to stay in the Armed Forces. We risk weakening the defense over the next 10 years.

– It turned out as I feared

When the original plan was presented, it was responded to, among other things, that the government submitted to the lowest recommendation from the Chief of Defense.

A number of northern Norwegian politicians agreed on a joint document in which they demanded greater military commitment.

Mayor of Bardu, Toralf Heimdal is very disappointed with the revised long-term plan for the defense that was presented on Friday. The increase in staff is too weak, and the purchase of new equipment is too slow, Heimdal believes.

– It turned out as I feared. This is about the same plan as the one presented this spring. It has no obligations in the first years beyond a weak personnel growth, as well as some investments that need to be prepared.

He believes that Norway is making fun of NATO’s force requirements, and points out that there will be no new tanks until 2025, and that the army will not get new helicopters.

– We are not able to establish the structure NATO believes we must have, says Heimdal.

Bardu mayor Toralf Heimdal thinks the staff increase is too weak.

Photo: Tora Kyllingstad / NRK

Three areas the Chief of Defense would focus more on

– The good thing about the long-term plan is that there is a balance between the ambitions that the politicians set up and how they want the defense to look, says Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen.

– The most important thing now is that we get an agreement on the broad outlines and that I get a long-term plan I can continue working on as defense chief.

The Chief of Defense has been particularly concerned about the Army and that efforts should be made in the High North.

– If there was room for more funding, there are three areas I would focus more on; a faster personnel build-up, to be able to be present in the north and contribute to operations internationally, the need for air defense and long-range precision fire to the army.

Photo: Jil Yngland / NTB

– More concrete than last time

The long-term plan is more concrete than last time, according to the leader of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Labor Party.

At the same time, the lack of new promises about personnel is a major weakness of the plan, according to her.

– What is the great weakness is that when it comes to personnel in the Armed Forces, which the previous Chief of Defense says is the most important thing to strengthen our defense capability, all those promises are just pushed out in time.

– So the Minister of Defense is most ambitious after he has resigned himself, Huitfeldt says.

Original plan was sent in return

The original plan was presented in April. However, the opposition in the Storting thought that the plan was too vague, and sent it back with eight binding demands to the government.

It had never happened before.

Too weak, lack of commitment to the Army and that decisions are postponed in time, was part of the criticism.

At the top of the list for the Labor Party, the Progress Party, the Center Party and the Socialist People’s Party was the demand that the time perspective be shortened from eight years, which the government proposed.

In addition, the opposition demanded that the long-term plan be concretized more with time and numbers.

Among other things, the government was asked to come up with a concrete escalation plan for the number of employees in the Armed Forces.

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