Defence cooperation between Norway and US essential for our security

The Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement between Norway and the US has now been submitted to the Storting for consideration. ‘This Agreement provides a framework for further developing our crucial cooperation with the US in this area. Our primary focus is on safeguarding Norwegian security and Norwegian interests, but this cooperation is also important for the security of Europe as a whole,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

The security policy landscape in our region has changed due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the deteriorating security situation in Europe. This makes it all the more vital to ensure that Norway is able to respond to negative and complex security developments at short notice. The Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement (SDCA) will facilitate more rapid and effective deployment of reinforcements to Norway from the US in the event of a war or crisis. The Government is now requesting the Storting’s consent to the ratification and implementation of the Agreement.

Norway’s defence is based on three main elements: our national defence capability, collective defence through Nato, and bilateral support and reinforcement from close allies. The Storting has previously endorsed this defence concept.

‘It is unrealistic to expect Norway to be able to defend itself exclusively with its own forces. We are a member of Nato and we will support other Nato countries just as they will support us. If the Nato countries are to be able to defend each other, it is essential that the US and other Allies can train and conduct exercises here, as well as preposition defence equipment and supplies and prepare in other ways for potential Allied reinforcement of Norway,’ said Minister of Defence Odd Roger Enoksen.

The Agreement itself will enhance Norwegian security by clearly reaffirming the continued commitment of the US to contribute to Norwegian and European security. The activities of US forces in Norway in the years ahead will continue to be developed in close consultation between the US and Norway. Norway’s ability to receive Allied reinforcements in the event of a war or crisis is dependent on having the necessary infrastructure in place. The Agreement will make it possible for the US to invest in military infrastructure projects in Norway.

‘Norway and the US have been cooperating successfully on the defence of Norway for over 70 years. Activities under the Agreement will be carried out with full respect for the sovereignty, laws, and international legal obligations of Norway. The Agreement does not entail any changes to Norway’s policy regarding the stationing of foreign forces on Norwegian territory, our nuclear policy, our rules for vessel calls at Norwegian ports, or our limitations on the stockpiling of certain types of weapons on Norwegian territory. Russia therefore has no reason to react to the Agreement. Reinforcement by Allies is a fundamental component of Nato cooperation, and Russia is well aware of this,’ said Foreign Minister Huitfeldt.

The Agreement allows for the establishment of Agreed Facilities and Areas, which are defined as locations that are central to the development of practical defence cooperation. Four such areas will be established: Sola Military Air Station and Airfield, Evenes Military Air Station and Airfield, Rygge Military Air Station and Airfield, and Ramsund Naval Station. Under the Agreement, additional Agreed Facilities and Areas may be established at a later date.

Negotiations on the Agreement were completed under the previous Government, and the Agreement was signed in spring 2021. Given that this a matter of critical national importance, the Storting’s consent is required before the Agreement can enter into force. The Agreement was circulated for review in autumn 2021.

Two propositions to the Storting will be submitted.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will present Prop. 90 S (2021–2022) Proposition to the Storting on consent to ratification of the Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement between Norway and the United States of America of 16 April 2021.

The Ministry of Defence will submit Prop. 89 L (2021–2022) Proposition to the Storting on the implementation of the Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement between Norway and the United States of America of 16 April 2021.