The Norwegian government proposes to spend nearly USD 7.4 billion (EUR 5,5 billion/NOK 42.2 billion) on defence in 2013, a real increase from 2012 of USD 52.5 million/EUR 39 million/NOK 300 million.
This comes on top of continued efficiency gains which will lead to a combined net total funding increase of USD 100 million/EUR 76.8 million/NOK 568 million that will fund more training and additional measures to improve the readiness of the Norwegian Armed Forces. This is in accordance with the priorities set out by the Long Term Plan for the Armed Forces that was passed in June of 2012.
“This proves that the current government helps guarantee the continued development of modern and relevant Armed Forces for Norway. During 2013 we will continue to invest in training, readiness and new capabilities, all of which puts us on a solid footing for the future,” says Norwegian Minister of Defence, Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.
Investing in National Resilience
In the wake of the tragedy that struck Norway on the 22nd of July 2011, the Defence sector is also taking steps to help improve the resilience of Norwegian society. In 2013 this will include a number of new measures, including:
- Proposing a significant increase in the funding for the National Security Authority of 30 %. The Norwegian NSA is funded by the Ministry of Defence, but reports to both the ministries of Defence and Justice. It has an overall responsibility for planning and preparing preventive and protective digital security measures in Norway. The agency also provides advice on securing vulnerable infrastructure.
- Continuing investments in new Cyber Defence Force, increased funding for Military Intelligence. The Norwegian Armed Forces in September 2012 established the Cyber Defence Force as a separate entity tasked with securing the Armed Forces against cyber threats. Military Intelligence also plays an important part in ensuring that Norwegian decision makers have the information they need to make the right decisions about our security, and their ability to do so will be strengthened further.
- Helicopters on permanent stand-by, more funding for the Home Guard. Air Force tactical helicopters will now be on permanent readiness to provide support for civil law enforcement in armed operations. The Home Guard will receive additional funding to improve both training and equipment.
“Civilian authorities such as the Police will, and shall have primary responsibility for national resilience efforts, but in this important work everyone must pull together, and the Armed Forces and the wider Armed Forces sector will play their part,” says Minister of Defence Strøm-Erichsen.
A Trusted Partner Abroad
Though the nature of the Norwegian contribution to the continuing operations in Afghanistan has changed, Norway’s commitment to preventing international terrorists from returning to Afghanistan, promoting the security of the Afghan people as well as that of the wider international community remains firm. During 2013, Norway will therefore continue its efforts to help develop the capabilities of Afghan National Security Forces, with an aim to allow them to operate more independently of international support.
Norway’s mentoring for the Afghan Crisis Response Unit (CRU) in Kabul will continue in 2013, and a Norwegian C-130J tactical transport aircraft will be deployed in Afghanistan throughout and possibly beyond the first quarter of 2013. Norway is also considering potential contributions to UN-lead operations as well as operations under NATO and European Union leadership.
Preparing for the future
Continued modernization of the Norwegian Armed Forces remains a priority, and as a result the Norwegian government will invest more than USD 1.5 billion (EUR 1.2 billion; NOK 8.77 billion) in new equipment in 2013.
The F-35 program features prominently in this portfolio, comprising investments in excess of USD 300 million (EUR 240 million/NOK 1.78 billion) in 2013 alone. Other major projects include new maritime helicopters for the Air Force, new armoured vehicles for the Army, as well as adaptations to the frigates and continued updates of the submarines for the Navy.
“This budget allows us to move forward on ensuring that our Armed Forces are equipped to meet the challenges of the future. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to secure significant funding for the F-35 for 2013 that will allow us to move forward on our plans to receive the first aircraft already in 2015,” says Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.
The budget, introduced on Monday the 8th of October 2012, will now be subject to a debate in the Norwegian Parliament. Final passage of the budget is expected in December 2012.