Russia’s Presence In The Arctic Revives Old Nordic Alliances

For Norway, Russia poses threats to the long-term security in the Upper North regions. These threats are encapsulated in the government’s 2020-2024 Long-Term Defense Plan (LTDP) for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Nordic countries are pressing to deepen transatlantic defense collaboration with the United States in the High North. They fear the Trump administration’s conflicting messages about NATO. In particular, they fear a decrease in the alliance’s presence in Northern Europe.

The Nordic countries are concerned over NATO’s ability to counter possible threats. The threats are seen especially in the strategic regions of the High North and the Baltic Sea. This has rekindled the Nordic countries to explore the development of naval, air, and military units. The rapid response also includes mechanized infantry. Nordic leaders have been tentatively discussing possible common capacity building since 2016. However, few real substantive plans have emerged from the cross-border dialogue.

“Nordic defense collaboration continues to evolve,” said Antti Kaikkonen, Finland’s defense minister. “We are looking for new ways to cooperate in functional areas to improve security in the High North and Baltic Sea areas.

Sweden and Finland are not aligned with NATO. The two countries have already held bilateral talks. Here they have discussed- the formation of joint Arctic-specific rapid response brigades and brigades of modular design. The long-term expectation is that neighboring NATO states Denmark and Norway will join the group. This would be under the umbrella of the current Nordic Defense Cooperation pact.

Of the four Nordic defense partners, Norway is the most enthusiastic supporter of a greater role for the US forces. And NATO in the northern Arctic.

Norway is faced with the continued expansion of Russia’s defense infrastructure on the Kola Peninsula. T+he immediate response has been to increase spending to strengthen the military readiness and capabilities. It is also coupled with the increase in exercises by multiple branches of the Russian forces close to the borders of Norway.-

The Nordic governments have a strong desire to see the United States play a stronger role in the region’s security. They are also interested in deepening the defense cooperation with Germany.

Nordic Defense Ministers held a video conference with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. On June 18, they focused on key security and defense issues. The topics included regional security and future challenges in maintaining a healthy transatlantic alliance.

“Germany is an important actor and partner in Europe and the Baltic Sea region. We share common interests regarding the security situation in Northern Europe. We want to expand this well-developed cooperation,” said Peter Hultqvist, Sweden’s defense minister.

For Norway, Russia poses potential threats to long-term security in the Upper North regions. Those are encapsulated in the government’s 2020-2024 Long-Term Defense Plan (LTDP. The 123-page document refers to Russia having posed a military threat and instability. 58 times have been accounted for in the High North and the Baltic Sea.

The plan aims to combine the Norwegian ability to work in association with the United States and NATO. A strong commitment and presence are required to counter any future threat from Russia. It is how to assure the security in the High North, Frank Bakke-Jensen said. Frank Bakke-Jensen is the Norwegian Defense Minister.

“Norway needs to have a regular and predictable presence in the High North. We want to ensure stability and maintain our influence on developing security in our neighborhood. We are strengthening our military capacity on the one hand and cooperation with NATO and the USA. On the other, ”said Bakke-Jensen.

The LTDP document notes that Russia currently poses a great threat to regional security. The threat is greater than has been the case for several decades. The Norwegian government is also improving communication channels between Oslo and Moscow. They aim to improve the working relationship with Russia’s leaders and senior military commanders.

“The potential of Russia’s military power has changed significantly in recent years. The country’s behavior has become increasingly assertive and adventurous. Russia is prepared to apply a wide spectrum of means to achieve its objectives. This includes both military and non-military means, concludes the LTDP report.

The plan adds $ 1.73 billion to the Norwegian Armed Forces (NAF) budget over the next 8 years. The extra money will be used for major capital investment programs. These will boost the overall capacity and firepower of the Northern Brigade based in the Arctic.

Necessary acquisitions for the NAF will include new armored combat vehicles and long-range precision weapons. A new mobile unit will be established. This unit will be dedicated to chemical and biological defense and radioactive and nuclear defense.

Norway must increase military spending and address capacity deficiencies in the naval force and air defense core areas. To do this, the NAF will add four newly built submarines to its naval fleet by 2030. The Army will upgrade its current NASAMS air defense system. Modern sensors and a long-range air defense system will be added. It will counter threats from ballistic missiles from short range. NAF will also form new extreme weather maritime special force unit. The unit is called the Special Operations Task Force.

In unified Nordic defense, national governments support the expansion of more regular joint training. Multi-branch exercises are conducted in cooperation with NATO in the area.

In May, the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters joined the Norwegian F-35s. This was a part of a broader long-range strategic bomber mission. The mission included American B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing in South Dakota.

Russia's Presence In The Arctic Revives Old Nordic Alliances

The May 20 exercise was notable because it was the first time the US had long-range strategic bombers. They participated in exercises on Swedish airspace. The mission of the Swedish Air Force included refueling the JAS 39 Gripens from the American KC-135 Stratotankers.

Sweden is not a member of NATO. However, in 2014 the country signed a host country agreement with NATO. This allows the allied Forces to conduct joint training exercises.

“Exercises like these are important. They allow us to demonstrate interoperability and our role as a reliable and relevant partner. The transatlantic liaison and combined exercises with US air units increase our capacity. Carl-Johan Edström is Major General commander in the Swedish Air Force. He says: “These exercises create security and stability in the Upper North and Baltic Sea regions.

Source: Israel Noticias

By Coricia

Marketing manager and co-Chief Editor of Maritime Herald.