Participation in multinational crisis management entails the ability, at short notice and in concert with allies and others, to contribute a military capability in some form for the purpose of bringing under control a given situation which poses a threat either to international security or to other vital interests, or which is likely to have other unacceptable adverse consequences. Such crisis management may involve all kinds of security challenges, may in principle arise anywhere in the world, and may be led either by an established organisation or alliance such as the UN, NATO or the EU, or conducted under the auspices of an ad hoc coalition of one kind or another.

In simplified terms, a distinction can be drawn between three types of international peace operations: peace enforcement, peacekeeping and peace-building. The boundary between them is often fluid, however, and the nature of a particular operation can change over time. For example, NATO’s air campaign in the former Yugoslavia in 1999 started as a peace enforcement operation and then changed in nature to become a NATO-led peacekeeping operation involving a number of partner countries.

Peace enforcement operations are associated with ongoing military conflicts and are intended to restore peace and stability. In NATO terms they can include both Article 5 and non-Article 5 operations. Examples of peace enforcement operations include the NATO Alliance’s military campaign conducted in the former Yugoslavia in 1999 and the ongoing United States-led military operations in Afghanistan. Requests for a Norwegian contribution can come at short notice and a rapid response on the part of Norway will normally be expected.

Peacekeeping operations are usually associated with the monitoring of a cease-fire or peace agreement. Such operations are most often UN-led and carried out under the terms of a UN mandate. The UNIFIL force in Lebanon is an example. This type of operation is normally planned and carried out over a substantial period.

Peace-building operations are intended to prevent conflict and support the peace processes. Examples include the UN-led operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the UN operation (UNMIBH) and the UN operation in East Timor (UNTAET). This type of operation usually involves the participation of both military and civilian personnel and would be planned and carried out over a considerable period.

The United Nations Charter gives the organisation an important role in the maintenance of international peace and security. It has always been one of Norway’s foreign policy aims to contribute to the strengthening of the UN’s authority in the international community and the organisation’s apparatus for conflict resolution, crisis management and the peaceful settlement of disputes. The deployment of military forces has helped to ease tensions in many different regions. The award of the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN peacekeeping forces is an acknowledgement of the positive value of their role. Since 1988 the UN has set up more operations than in the whole of the preceding 40 years. The UN’s increased involvement in questions affecting international peace and security is illustrated by this expansion which is expected to continue. Contributing to these operations, be it militarily or in the form of medical or humanitarian assistance, is also regarded as a means of advancing national security since UN operations contribute to damping down and stabilising dangerous and volatile situations.

In recent years international operations have been given increasing priority on the international political agenda while at the same time the operations themselves have, to an increasing extent, tended to become multifunctional and more complex in terms of their composite tasks. Military, political, humanitarian, economic and social considerations have to be considered as part of the overall picture to an extent that was seldom the case in the past. This is a direct consequence of international developments in the direction of globalisation, a trend which places ever greater demands on the use of military force in the handling of conflict situations.

Another aspect of the changing world situation is the increasing involvement of players other than the UN in international operations. Good examples in this context are the NATO-led SFOR operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the NATO-led force KFOR in Kosovo. The Norwegian contribution to KFOR, a contingent numbering approximately 900, is the largest single unit that Norway has deployed overseas for many years. During the period April to October 2001 Norway, together with Denmark, held the lead role in the NATO Headquarters in Pristina. This task faced the Norwegian command team with some major operational and military challenges and both demonstrated and enhanced our competence to play a leading part in such international operations.

NATO’s primary geographical focus remains, in general terms, the Euro-Atlantic area, with the main emphasis on the prevention, limitation and resolution of regional crises and conflicts which could develop to pose a threat to one or more of the member countries of the Alliance. The fight against international terrorism and the work of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery do, however, have a global impact.

The above mentioned development and the increase in Norway’s military engagement abroad has made it necessary to review the requirements for the forces that are to be deployed on such missions. In connection with its consideration of the Long-Term Proposition, (St. prp. 45, 2001-2002), the Storting approved the establishment of the Armed Forces Task Force for International Operations, or High Readiness Force (FIST). This force will include elements from all branches of the Armed Services and will be able to make units available for international missions at short notice. Elements of this force will be capable of very rapid reaction and will therefore embody a relatively high proportion of regular personnel. The units will be capable of interoperation with forces from allied or partner countries and, to an increasing extent, with a range of civil authorities. They may be declared for inclusion in various force registers, including those maintained by NATO, UN and EU, and they may be used in a Nordic context. All the force elements will be capable of participating in crisis management operations, both nationally and internationally. The establishment of FIST reflects the future significance of forces capable of combining a rapid reaction capability with mobility and high quality.

International involvement, in all its forms, will constitute a central task for the Armed Forces in the future. Active participation internationally will enable Norway to make a contribution to international peace and stability while at the same time strengthening Norway’s own national security. Assessment of the conditions and concepts relating to Norwegian participation in international operations will be kept under constant review as we apply experience gained to the new challenges that we face.

Norway has contributed military personnel to more than 30 international operations since 1947: in the Balkans, the Middle East, Kashmir, Korea, the Congo, Guatemala, Angola, El Salvador, Somalia, Sierra Leone and East Timor.

More than 55,000 Norwegians have taken part in these operations. In addition, Norway participated with the Coast Guard vessel CGV ANDENES in the UN-authorised embargo against Iraq over the period September 1990 - October 1991, and with a field hospital in the multinational force which, with the backing of a UN Security Council resolution, forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.

In the autumn of 2002 Norway was a participant in a number of observer missions, both under UN auspices and through other multilateral co-operation, in a wide variety of locations including: the Middle East (UNTSO, 11 persons), the Prevlaka Peninsula (UNMOP, 1 person), Kosovo (UNMIK, 2 persons) Sinai (MFO, 4 persons), Sudan (JMC, 3 persons), Ethiopia/Eritrea (UNMEE, 5 persons), East Timor (UNTAET, 6 persons), Ethiopia/Eritrea (UMMEE, 5 persons) and the Congo (MONUC, 5 persons).

Since January 2002 Norway has been involved in two operations in Afghanistan as part of the international campaign to combat terrorism. One is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) whose mandate has been to stabilise the situation in and around the capital Kabul. The other is the United States-led operation "Enduring Freedom" directed primarily towards defeating the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

In operation "Enduring Freedom" Norway’s contribution has included special forces, a team of 15 mine clearance experts, a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft, the frigates HNoMS Narvik and HNoMS Trondheim, the submarine HNoMS Uthaug and 6 F-16 combat aircraft. The F-16 aircraft form part of the so-called EPAF Force (European Participating Air Forces) consisting of a total of 18 F-16 aircraft from Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. The main task for these aircraft is to provide close air support for ground forces participating in operation "Enduring Freedom" and, if the need should arise, to provide support for ISAF. This mission is of six months duration and commenced on 1 October 2002.

The Norwegian contribution to ISAF has consisted mainly of an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit and military personnel to undertake transport control at Kabul airport.

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