Monday, June 12th, the Storting’s extended foreign and defense committees heard Defense Minister Bakke-Jensen (H) & Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) give explanation of the government’s decision to allow an increase of U.S. military within Norway’s high north.
If dialogue with the Americans leads to agreement, the scheme will bring up to 700 U.S. soldiers to Norway; distributed between Værnes in Trøndelag and Setermoen at Troms.
The expanded invitation to the U.S. military is about NATO training and improving winter fighting capabilities. Norway is asking the United States to about double the number of U.S. Marines stationed within Norway.
The proposed U.S. military expansion within Norway is in line with the Storting’s plan to facilitate for increased interactions between Norway and allied forces.
According to Minister Søreide, the Storting shows broad support for the plan.
FIRST TROOPS SINCE WWII
Norway’s Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen (H) gave comment, saying “The defense of Norway is dependent on the support of our Allies in NATO, as is the case with most other NATO countries. For this support to work in crisis and war, we are totally dependent on exercising and practicing in peace time.” –
“We must put the conditions for good and effective training. This is the reason why we want to extend and extend today’s order with the US Marine Corps. Allies get better when they train together,” said Minister Bakke-Jensen.
Some 330 U.S. Marines who’ve trained within Norway for winter combat are due to leave Norway at the end of 2018. These Americans are the first foreign troops stationed in NATO member Norway since WWII.
NO U.S. BASES
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told that the decision did not constitute the establishment of a permanent US base in Norway and was not targeting Russia.
“There are no American bases on Norwegian soil,” Søreide said.
Oslo will ask Washington to send 700 Marines, compared with 330 presently.The additional troops will be based closer to the border with Russia in the Norwegian Arctic, rather than in central Norway.
The rotation of U.S. forces will last for a five-year period compared with the initial scheme that was to last a six month period from the start of 2017, and then saw
extension last June, 2017.
Additionally, the U.S. wants to build an infrastructure within Norway that would
accommodate up to four U.S. fighter jets at a base 65 km (40 miles) south of Oslo,as part of larger European deterrence initiatives launched after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014.
The Russian embassy in Oslo was not available for comment.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today