Despite protests from Russia, the government wants more presence of forces from NATO countries in Norway.
Andøya and Bodø are pointed out as places for reinforcements.
“An increasing need has been identified for NATO and close allies to prioritise their presence and reinforcement of Norway” the government stated in connection with the presentation of the revised national budget.
The background is a “concept” prepared by the Armed Forces that describes how Norway should be able to accept reinforcements from Allies during a war or crisis.
There are already 700 US forces from US Marines’ outlets at Værnes in Trøndelag, which has led to heavy criticism from, among others, Russia and the Sosialistisk Venstreparti (SV). The critics believe the it is a violation of the base declaration from 1949, which states that foreign powers should not have bases for combat forces on Norwegian soil in peacetime.
“It is important to have a conscious relationship to the fact that increased ally presence in Norway should be in line with the Norwegian base policy and be combined with reassurance and predictability towards Russia” the government wrote, without going into how the increased presence could affect the relationship with a neighbouring country.
In parallel, the Armed Forces have considered how Norway are able to accept reinforcements from Allies in the event of war or crisis. It is emphasised that this must be improved in peacetime.
‘’The concept places particular emphasis on strengthening Northern Norway. This is where it is most time-critical with air forces, and therefore both Andøya and Bodø are identified as reception areas for Allied aircraft’’ they said.
The Government proposes that Andøya and Bodø will have preparedness roles in receiving reinforcements, and it is suggested that infrastructure changes will be needed to achieve this.
What this will cost has not yet been calculated, but the Government emphasised that these costs have not been taken into account in the current long-term plan for the Armed Forces.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today