Inflamed National Guard quarrel before the Parliament
The National Guard (HV) lacks the capacity to provide for protection of important buildings, according to OAG (Riksrevisjonen). The National Guard is strengthened in this term, is the answer from the Government.
On Tuesday, the Parliament deals with the OAG’s report on the work regarding safety and preparedness towards emergencies.
– The National Guard does not have the capacity to do their job with the forces needed for the objects at hand, according to MP Per Olaf Lundteigen (SP)
– The Government must decide whether to continue their stance of further diminishment of the National Guard, or taking the OAG’s report seriously and increase the manpower in the National Guard, he maintains.
Lack of capacity
In their report on the period leading up to 2015, the Office of the Auditor General writes that the police and the Armed Forces, neither together nor individually, are able to secure important buildings, facilities and infrastructure properly in a state of emergency.
– Within the National Guard, who are responsible for security and overview, there is a lack of capacity, National Auditor General, Per-Kristian Foss, told NTB in May.
Before the Control Committee’s hearing in March, the National Guard officers warned about the situation. HV are ipso facto given the responsibility to safeguard 40 per cent more “key objects”, whilst facing a cut in the number of service men.
The reigning political parties recently, with support from Labour, reduced the National Guard from 42,000 to 35,000 soldiers. At the last count, there were approximately 37,000 guardsmen available.
Politically determined size
OAG’s criticism is also stated in a summary report exempt from the public, but leaked to the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.
It states that: “The Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces have not sufficiently ensured that the National Guard is able to secure and protect objects according to instructions” … “the OAG are very concerned with (the fact) that the Ministry of Defense has not strengthened the National Guard in line with the Parliaments instructions” .
– They have reduced the number of soldiers who are enrolled and who will be responsible for the important object protection. But for every object that is chosen, you must have a force that is five times the size of the one you have present at all times, says Lundteigen.
– It is unfortunately a fact that it is the statutory size of the HV that has been decisive for how many objects are chosen, instead of the other way around, saying that we need to secure these objects, how large a NG-force is needed to accomplish the job?
Not reduced in size
The OAG met opposition already in connection with the hearings on the matter.
– I do not share the OAG’s assessment that the Armed Forces are unable to provide proper object protection, said Chief of Defence, Haakon Bruun-Hanssen.
After Monday’s closed parliamentary meeting on the matter, the Minister of Defense refuted the claim that the National Guard was weakened.
– We have in no way reduced HV during this period, quite the contrary. We have spent a lot more money on HV than was intended, says Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives) to NTB.
– In the previous government period, HV’s budget was cut by approximately NOK 300 million. We are strengthening it with nearly NOK 200 million this year alone. We’ve done this since 2014 and onwards.
The Minister refers to the purchase of vehicles, increased training of effort forces, weapons and maintenance of equipment.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today