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The long term defence plan for 2002-2005 - Short version (text)

Short version (text)

The Long Term Defence Plan for 2002-2005

The Norwegian Armed Forces - in tune with the time

We stand on the threshold of a new planning period for the Armed Forces, a period which will cut out the way ahead for decades to come. Choices have to be made which will have wide effects on our defence capability, on our relationship with our allies, for us all individually and for the national economy. Earlier attempts to reshape the Armed Forces have achieved limited success. We have not managed to create a flexible and credible Defence that is properly attuned to the tasks and challenges to be met. This time, however, the Government is putting before the Storting a Long-Term Plan for the Armed Forces in the form of a Proposition rather than a White Paper. The Storting is being asked to adopt specific resolutions relating to a comprehensive and immediate reorganisation and restructuring of Norwegian Defence. We are doing this in order to create greater predictability and an improved basis for the managing of defence funding, something which in turn will benefit the defence sector.

This last decade has been characterised by dramatic upheavals which have transformed the political scene in Europe. Today there are no direct threats facing Norway. At the same time in our own part of the world, we have witnessed the unfolding of a number of serious conflicts. I am thinking particularly of the Balkans. The reverberations from such conflicts can have serious consequences which also affect countries like Norway. We have no guarantee that today's relatively stable situation will continue in the longer term. A central aim must therefore be to ensure freedom of action for the Armed Forces in the long term.

Norway's defence structure has consisted of relatively large, static forces with a long reaction time. Their task has been to defend the country against a possible massive attack on Norwegian territory. A defence organisation based on such a concept, will however not be capable of meeting the challenges that we must be prepared to face in the future. Far-reaching changes are therefore imperative if we are to have a credible defence capability. But the restructuring must yield real improvements and not merely lead to quantitative reductions. Together with our membership in NATO, high quality mobile and flexible forces capable of rapid reaction are our best insurance against the complex and uncertain nature of the risks and threats that characterise the situation in Europe today. We can never expect to be able to meet this range of challenges alone and unaided.

We remain dependent of the support of our allies. In the future too, NATO will continue to constitute the most important guarantee of Norwegian security. Norway, in return, must demonstrate its solidarity in contributing to the Alliance's mutual defence capability. NATO's aim is to develop a unified force structure based on the defence structures of individual members of the Alliance. One of the major challenges to be faced in the reshaping of Norwegian Defence is to measure up to the quality requirements set by NATO. Even though the collective defence of the member countries remains the cornerstone of NATO policy, the focus is now very much on dealing with potentially contagious regional conflicts. One of the Alliance's central missions is to act to defuse conflicts in or adjacent to the NATO area before they reach the stage of posing a threat to one or more of the NATO countries.

Even though we have in recent years devoted considerable resources to defence, the Armed Forces have become progressively less able to meet their commitments. Too great a proportion of the resources has been expended in maintaining a disproportionately large peacetime organisation, with a corresponding adverse effect on operational capability.

The Norwegian Defence organisation has to be made more efficient in order to ensure that in the years to come it can once again constitute an effective instrument for Norwegian security policy. Only in this way can the Armed Forces preserve the trust placed in them by the population at large.

Bjørn Tore Godal

Minister of Defence

Why restructuring?

The background for the Government’s recommendations is the fact that the Armed Forces are facing a deep structural crisis.

This can be explained in terms of two particular relationships or imbalances.

The first imbalance is between costs and funding. The resources allocated to defence have for many years been well below the levels needed to enable the Armed Forces to be operational, and their equipment kept up to date, in a proper and responsible manner. As a result of this state of affairs, many essential procurement projects have been postponed, emergency stockpiles have been run down, the maintenance of defence property, buildings and installations has suffered, the period of compulsory military service has been increasingly watered down both in duration and content, while training and exercise activities for Armed Forces personnel have been cut to a level which is altogether too low.

The second imbalance is between the structure of the defence organisation and the tasks with which the Armed Forces are entrusted. The way in which the Armed Forces are currently organised does not match the missions, either national or international, that they are supposed to carry out. Even if today’s Armed Forces were to be allocated sufficient resources to operate the present structure, they would still not be in a position to carry out their tasks in an effective manner.

In order to create a credible Defence, capable of meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow, the Government recommends that the organisation and structure of Norwegian Defence should undergo comprehensive slimming, effectively cutting out some 5,000 man years of work. The purpose is to reduce the annual operating costs by about NOK 2 billion compared to an alternative without restructuring. In addition the Government advocates a radical change in the shape of the Armed Forces, for reasons that include the aims that Norway has adopted within NATO. The reductions in the size of the Armed Forces are largely forced by financial constraints, while the changes in the shape of the organisation stem rather from aspects of security policy and advances in technology.

Developments in the field of security policy have led to qualitative changes in the requirements to be met by the Armed Forces. During the Cold War period the Armed Forces were organised to deal with a situation in which the threat was both known and comprehensive. The need at that time was to be able to mobilise large defensive forces, mainly in North Norway, where an attack was considered most likely to come.

The present situation with regard to Norway’s security is predominantly favourable. Europe remains enveloped in a process of radical change as new patterns of cooperation have been established. Three additonal countries have become NATO members, and NATO is building increasingly close ties to partner countries, many of which are participating in NATO-led military crises response operations in the Balkans. Developments in Russia, seen in a broad perspective, are largely positive and the country poses today no military threat to Norway. In the foreseeable future, the relationship between Norway and Russia will be characterised by the lack of symmetry between a small state and a great power. Any comprehensive military operation against Norwegian territory is highly unlikely within the next ten years. The ability to meet such a situation should therefore no longer constitute the dominant factor in determining the organisation and structure of Norway’s Armed Forces. The Norwegian Armed Forces should be capable of handling limited attacks against Norwegian territory, and together with our allies be capable of resisting larger scale attacks. The capability must be retained, however, to rebuild the Armed Forces should this become necessary in the longer term.

Notwithstanding the predominantly favourable security situation, Europe now faces new threats and risks more diverse than those existing during the Cold War period. Firstly, many of the old antagonisms between national and ethnic groupings in the Balkans have come to the surface. These and other conflicts entail a risk of spreading with consequent adverse effects over a far wider area, so directly affecting countries such as Norway. Modern societies are inherently vulnerable and can be affected by relatively simple means. Norway is, furthermore, a strategically important supplier of energy. This places us in an exposed position. An important global feature is that long-range weapon systems and modern communications and information technology make geographical distances less significant where risk assessment are concerned.

For these reasons there is an increasing, rather than a reduced risk, that Norway could at short notice be drawn into lowerintensity crises. In addition, more than one crises might occur more or less simultaneously.

Norway’s great strategic importance is based on its geographical situation, together with the large areas and rich natural resources that it possesses. The requirement for a military presence, intelligence gathering, surveillance, and the preservation of Norwegian sovereignty will therefore continue to make extensive demands on the Armed Forces. There are also some limited conflicts of interest, especially with Russia, in the northern areas. The Armed Forces must be able to meet all these various challenges.

Against this background Norway remains strongly dependent on mutually binding international cooperation in the field of security and defence. NATO is the most important guarantor of Norwegian sovereignty and its strength a precondition to an effective Norwegian security and defence policy. As a NATO member, Norway is at the same time jointly responsible for NATO’s work for peace, democracy, the rule of law and human rights within the Euro-Atlantic area. This entails obligations as well as rights. The Norwegian Armed Forces must be able to operate effectively with our NATO allies, both nationally and internationally, and must be modernised in other ways in line with the Alliance’s new role. The defence organisation must at the same time enable Norwegian forces to contribute to the handling of international crises and peace operations, to counter limited attacks and to contribute to the combating of international terrorism.

These facets of future capability all point in the same direction regarding the way in which the Norwegian Armed Forces should be organised. The Armed Forces require flexible, rapidly available military units capable of operating effectively with others to fulfil their missions, in order to be capable of managing possible crises arising in our neighbouring areas, of fulfilling our other obligations as a member of the Alliance and of contributing in the broadest sense to international peace and stability.

Main Defence Guidelines

The existing main defence guidelines were published in the last Long-Term Report for the Armed Forces, White Paper No. 22 (1997-98). The main pillars of these guidelines – nationally balanced Defence, the concept of Total Defence, allied and international military cooperation and a system of compulsory military service – represent only a partial move away from the Cold War days. The Government therefore recommends further changes to the main Defence guidelines.

The Government advocates the establishment of modern and flexible Armed Forces. The Armed Forces should be organised soon to enable them to perform a variety of tasks, either alone or in concert with allies, at short notice and in remote locations. Such forces will be better adapted both to cooperation within NATO and to meeting the challenges of an unpredictable risks.

Allied and international cooperation in defence matters is also an essential prerequisite if the Norwegian Armed Forces are to be able to fulfil all their national commitments. At the same time our allies expect Norway to make a greater contribution to the defence of the NATO area as a whole, and the Armed Forces must thus be capable of contributing to other international initiatives under the auspices of the UN, NATO or the EU.

The principle of conscription will remain an important pillar of Norway’s Defence. Military service is invaluable as a channel of contact between the Services and the public at large and as a means of ensuring access to suitable personnel for the Armed Forces. It is recommended, however, that there should be radical changes in the military service system. Reductions are recommended both in the numbers of persons called up each year, and for some groups in the overall length of service.

The legislation on defence readyness – on which the concept of Total Defence is based, only is applicable in the event of war or risk of war. The new risks imply, however, that there could be an enhanced need for civil-military cooperation even at lower levels of conflict. The Armed Forces’ arrangements for aid to the civil authorities must be able to deal with such situations. Civil-military cooperation will therefore be established as an extension in a broader perspective of the Total Defence concept. The Total Defence concept must in addition be modernised to take account of changes in civil society.

Force structure

The Government advocates the retention of important units within each service branch. The aim is to give the Services the necessary flexibility to be able to handle their range of tasks and the necessary skills to permit them to adapt to new tasks in the future. This is in accord with the recommendations of the Defence Policy Commission.

This gives the following force structure for 2005:

The Army will consist of two brigades and a mobile divisional command – including divisional artillery, communications, reconnaissance and ranger units – in Inner Troms, together with the Army’s contribution to the Armed Forces Task Force which will be organised within a brigade framework. A number of other smaller units will be retained including His Majesty the King’s Guard and the Border Guard Company in Sør-Varanger.

The Home Guard will have a force of 60 000 personnel and be adapted to take on new tasks. The fact that the Home Guard has a country-wide presence is one of its strengths in this context.

The Navy will consist of five Fridtjof Nansen Class frigates carrying helicopters, six submarines, eight mine clearance vessels, one minelayer which will serve as a logistic vessel, sea mines, a Coastal Ranger Command, a Clearance Diver Command and various support units. The first of the frigates is due to enter service in 2005. In addition the Coast Guard will receive new helicopters and a new patrol vessel, specially reinforced for operations in ice.

The Air Force will consist of 48 (+10) combat aircraft organised in three squadrons together with a number of additional aircraft including three equipped for calibration and electronic warfare support, six maritime patrol aircraft, six transport aircraft, 18 transport helicopters, two sets of base equipment which enable non-military airfields to be used for military purposes at short notice, three air defence missile groups and, additionally, the Search and Rescue helicopter service.

The Special Forces will be developed further. The Armed Forces will also be provided with improved access to strategic transport by sea and work will be done to ensure greater availability of strategic transport by air. Finally, active efforts will be made to establish more extensive and binding multinational collaboration in relation to the procurement and operation of military capabilities and support functions that smaller countries cannot, without difficulty, provide on their own. The requirements of Norway and its allies, will govern the direction of this work. Key requirements have been identified trough NATO’s Defence Capabilities Initiative – which gives substance to the military requirements that NATO’s New Strategic Concept entails for the Alliance members.

One feature of the new structure shared by the great majority of Service units is that they will be at a higher state of operational readiness than they are today because they will be allocated greater resources for training, exercises and general preparedness measures. The highest priority units from all service branches will together be included in the Armed Forces Task Force, cf. White Paper No. 38 (1998-99). This will give the Armed Forces a flexible and versatile capability for national as well as international crisis management.

The force structure recommended will have limitations, in particular with regard to endurance in major conflicts and the capability of handling more than one crisis at a time where these call for the same type of military involvement. Overall, however, the limitations of this structure will be less serious than those that exist today, and they will be far less serious than those that will be faced in 2005 if the proposed restructuring measures are not implemented.

Strategic leadership, command and support structures

In order to be able to operate and develop the necessary force structure in a financially responsible way, the entire structure and organisation of the Armed Forces must be made leaner and more efficient. One of the main difficulties experienced in the attempts at Defence restructuring in the 1990s was that the very modest changes in the command and support structures were out of proportion to the large reductions in the forces themselves. Lessons have been learned from this, and these areas will thus be subject to relatively greater cuts than the actual force structure.

The top echelons of Norwegian Defence at the strategic level – the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and Defence Command Norway (DEF-COMNOR) – are currently top heavy and not sufficiently oriented towards such strategic activities as long-term planning, crisis management and international cooperation. The Government therefore recommends co-locating the strategic leadership of the armed forces. The Chief of Defence and the strategic functions that are currently the responsibility of DEFCOMNOR will be integrated with the Ministry of Defence while the Chief of Defence at the same time remains in daily charge of the military organisation. DEFCOMNOR will be disbanded. Those functions of DEFCOMNOR which are not then superfluous, and which are not transferred to the integrated MOD, will be transferred to other parts of the Defence organisation. This will yield an overall reduction in MOD and DEFCOMNOR staff numbers of at least 40 percent while at the same time giving an improved capability for strategic planning, crisis management and international cooperation especially within NATO.

The existing Armed Forces command structure is disproportionately elaborate both in relation to today’s and, still more so, tomorrow’s force levels, and because of the technological advances that are simplifying the tasks of command, control and communication. The Government therefore recommends reshaping the command structure to make it leaner and more efficient. It is proposed that the two existing Defence Commands, three Naval Districts, four District Commands, 14 territorial regiments and 18 Home Guard Districts should be disbanded. The proposal is that these should be replaced by a Joint Operations Headquarter in Stavanger with two Regional Commands located in Bodø and Trondheim. The command headquarters in Bodø will constitute the regional command centre for crisis and incident management in the northern region and will also be capable of serving as an alternative command headquarters for the overall Commander. It is further proposed that there should be eight Defence Districts and 14 Home Guard district headquarters. These measures will result in an overall annual saving of 650 man-labour years or some 40 percent. This represents a reduction in the total number of headquarters and their respective staffs from 41 at present to 17.

The Armed Forces’ support organisation is responsible for providing the defence commands, and especially the forces under their command, with the necessary supplies, materiel and equipment to enable them to function as intended. The work of modernising this organisation and improving its efficiency is already well under way through the establishment of the Joint Logistics Organisation (JLO), cf. Proposition to the Storting No. 55 (1999-2000) and Report No. 25 (2000-2001). This work will be continued at high priority during the period of restructuring. The same measures that are to be employed in reducing Armed Forces expenditure in general will also be applied to the full in order to reduce support costs.

Armed Forces presence

The Government attaches great importance to ensuring that the Armed Forces will have a presence throughout the country. Essential co-location of many of the Armed Forces’ activities does not mean that everything has to be located centrally, or concentrated in just one region of the country. It is planned that military activities should take place in all regions of the country, with emphasis on North Norway, Trøndelag, the Bergen area and inland areas in the South-East. Particular weight is attached, however, to ensuring that the Armed Forces are strongly represented in North Norway.

Even though the Government in its recommendations seeks, as far as possible, to limit and spread the consequences of reductions in the organisation and structure of the Armed Forces, some local communities will be hard hit. In order to help those communities that are most severely affected, the Government will provide support in the form of resources to assist local redevelopment. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development will be responsible on behalf of the Government for the administration of these programmes. Funding of up to NOK 250 million will be allocated for this purpose over the period 2002-2006.

Preconditions for the reconstruction of the Armed Forces

The restructuring of Norwegian Defence over the period 2002-2005 will be very demanding. It is essential therefore that the Armed Forces should be given a clear and reliable framework within which to work and that certain additional resources should be provided to ensure that the overall reshaping can be carried through as planned.

The Government recommends that the basis for defence planning should be a total allocation of NOK 112 billion over the period of restructuring, that is to say an average annual allocation of some NOK 28 billion. It is envisaged that 24 billion out of the total of 112 billion will be devoted to investment in materiel. During this period, however, the main emphasis will be focused on achieving a successful restructuring. This will call for substantial resources. Approximately NOK 10 billion has been allocated to cover the costs of restructuring, this sum being divided between three billion to cover incentive schemes for the redundant resettlement of manpower, six billion for investment in property, buildings and facilities and one billion to cover other restructuring costs.

The Armed Forces must be given freedom of action to carry through the necessary measures, especially with regard to personnel and infrastructure. Incentive schemes to encourage voluntary discharge or retirement have been in place since the summer of 2000, with good results. Measure will also be taken to benefit the personnel which chooses to continue in the Services. Changes in the National Service regulations make it easier to control expenditure. The regulations for officers and service contracts in general will also be reviewed in the light of the restructuring process. The Armed Forces will also be given wide powers covering the disposal, or acquisition, of property, buildings and facilities as well as materiel.

The restructuring process must be subject to a time limit and it must be carried through with energy and determination, the aim being to have the process largely completed by the end of 2005. It will be fundamental to the success of the restructuring process that the organisational and structural changes recommended should be implemented as speedily as possible.

Successful restructuring is an essential precondition for the positive long-term development of high quality forces fit for the future, the key reason being that this process will result in a reduction in overall defence running costs, so increasing the resources available for the operation and renewal as necessary of the new force structure and the development of its operational capability.

Restructuring is not, however, sufficient on its own to ensure this positive development because certain of the mechanisms which have brought the Armed Forces to the situation in which they find themselves today will still be able to exert their effect in the future. The rate at which defence costs have been increasing, for example, is clearly above the average for the public sector. Simultaneously it is unacceptable that the Armed Forces, in the wake of restructuring, were again to become incapacitated due to a mismatch between costs and the funding allocated.

In other words, a successful restructuring and the assurance of sufficient defence funding to provide stable purchasing power in the longer term are both essential prerequisites if the development of Norwegian Defence is to be kept on a positive track. In addition, it is vital that the operating costs of the Armed Forces are kept under control by, inter alia, continuing the current work on the rationalisation of the peacetime organisation and by holding down costs for the acquisition and support of new materiel by all possible means, also through multinational collaboration.

Given these preconditions it will be possible to adapt and renew Norway’s force structure so that the Armed Forces are able to carry out the missions – national and international – with which they are entrusted both in the short and the medium term, and, if necessary, to reshape forces to meeting a radically altered situation in the longer term. All in all this will ensure a robust Defence capable of meeting challenges to Norway’s security and of fulfilling Norway’s international obligations, while at the same time ensuring also that the Armed Forces are seen as an attractive and challenging environment in which to work.