The government plan for defense creates a hole strategically and weakens the defense of the Norwegian coast, researcher Ståle Ulriksen at the Naval Academy says .
– They are closing down absolutely everything along the coast. This creates a hole strategically, Ulriksen says to Aftenposten. He teaches at the Naval Academy in Bergen and is a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).
Ulriksen points to plans to close down Coastal Ranger Command, Naval Home Guard and eventually phase out coastal corvettes of the Skjold class. This will make it difficult to protect the coast against the Russian Navy in times of emergency , he said.
– Russian ships can hit Oslo and Bergen with rockets from Murmansk. But if they enter Norwegian waters, they can be both very protected and reach targets in Europe. From a fjord in western Norway, you can hit the UK, half of France and almost the whole of Germany, the researcher says.
He gets partial support from former defense chief Sverre Diesen. Diesen praises the government for “a more rational financing of the Armed Forces”, but is critical to the decision to close down Coastal Ranger Command.
– The people of the command have enlisted and because of this it has a has very high professionalism and responsiveness. The way they operate is progressive. So I would probably rather have closed down one of the conscript units of the Military , he says to the newspaper Aftenposten.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today