Norway takes part in multinational rapid reaction force

Published under: Solberg's Government

Publisher Ministry of Defence

Norway will provide forces to the multinational high-readiness Joint Expeditionary Force. Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide signed the agreement during the NATO summit on Wednesday.

On Thursday evening seven defence ministers signed a letter of intent to develop the multinational force. (Photo: Audun Halvorsen, Norwegian Ministry of Defence)

Norway will provide forces to the multinational high-readiness Joint Expeditionary Force. Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide signed the agreement during the NATO summit on Wednesday.

The Joint Expeditionary Force is a British initiative, and the UK will be responsible for the bulk of the force. Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania will contribute a variety of capabilities. The force must be capable of quick deployment when needed.

“The Joint Expeditionary Force is an effort to make NATO more relevant and better suited to confront a new security situation,” says Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The British first raised the initiative with Norway in the spring of 2013. The Norwegian defence minister emphasises that the creation of the force is independent of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula. All the same, it’s clear that the altered security situation in Europe highlights the need for a reaction force that is available on short notice and scalable. The Government decided to pursue this course in the spring and consulted the Storting before NATO’s meeting of defence ministers in June.

The scope and reaction speed of the force have not been finally determined. The exact capacities to be contributed by Norway will be considered in the period ahead.

The way forward for NATO
It is important for NATO to preserve interoperability and ensure alliance cohesion even after the ISAF operation in Afghanistan has ended. NATO has adopted a Framework Nations Concept in which groups of countries cooperate more closely in certain areas. The Joint Expeditionary Force is a concrete example of such cooperation.
 
“Norway is pleased that larger allies are stepping forward and taking responsibility to develop the alliance for the future,” says the defence minister. “This type of collaboration will help strengthen NATO. The rapid reaction force will help develop NATO’s military capacity and strengthen the ability to respond quickly.”

German-led cooperation
Practical application of the new NATO concept is also exemplified in a 10-nation partnership led by Germany. During the summit, the group signed a letter to the Secretary General of NATO reporting several areas of capability that are relevant to cooperation.
 
“Norway has not taken a position as to which specific collaborations to join. It would be especially constructive to look at cooperating in capacities that Norway cannot develop or acquire on its own,” says the defence minister.

The following countries are part of this cooperative project: Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Belgium and Croatia.