Nordic military cooperation takes shape with common uniforms

Nordic Army chiefs meet at Porsangermoen military base in northern Norway. Major General Lars Lervik (from left), Lieutenant General Pasi Välimäki og Major General Karl Engelbrekt Engelbrektson. (Photo: Rolf K. Ytterstad, Forsvaret)

“We are strengthening our capability to do joint operations in peacetime, crisis and war,” says Norwegian Major General Lars Lervik.

Weeks of harsh Arctic frost were replaced by mild chill as top defence leaders from Norway, Finland and Sweden this week arrived in Porsangermoen, the far northern military base.

The visit of the countries’ Army chiefs comes only a few weeks ahead of the Cold Response 2022, the major NATO exercise where Finnish and Swedish troops will participate as part of the Norwegian force.

“We want to continue to strengthen cooperation between the Nordic countries,” says Major General Lars Lervik. He highlights the importance of a joint Nordic understanding of the situation.

“We are going to learn from each other,” the major general underlines in a comment sent to the Barents Observer by email. Lervik is Chief of the Norwegian Army.

Major General Karl Engelbrekt Engelbrektson (from left), Major General Lars Lervik and Lieutenant General Pasi Välimäki. (Photo: Randi Glomsrud, Forsvaret)

The meeting in Porsangmoen comes less than two years after the defence ministers of the three countries assembled in the same far northern base to sign a landmark cooperation agreement. The Statement Of Intent On Enhanced Operational Cooperation outlines a series of measures aimed at strengthening joint operational planning in the North and improving military interoperability.

This week’s meeting is part of the implementation of the agreement from 2020, the Norwegian Armed Forces informs.

As the top army leaders met at Porsangermoen, defence ministry representatives of the three countries signed a contract on the joint acquisition uniforms.

The deal is worth €425 million and means that soldiers from all the Nordic countries soon will dress up uniforms from the same manufacturers.

“We are talking about new uniforms from the inside to the outside, and I am very happy with the contract,” says Norwegian Minister of Defence Odd Roger Enoksen. “It illustrates the kind of potential that can be found in joint Nordic acquisition of equipment,” he adds.

The new Nordic uniform. (Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold, Forsvaret)

The first uniforms will be delivered in 2022. They will not look similar, but be based on a joint manufacturing standard, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense informs.

The basis of the increasingly close military cooperation between the Nordic countries is the NORDEFCO, the defense cooperation established in 2009.

In 2018, the Nordic defence ministers signed the ”Vision 2025”, a political framework that outlines ambitions for Nordic defence cooperation towards 2025. The document states that the Nordic countries are to cooperate not only in peacetimes but also in the event of a crisis or conflict.

Related stories from around the North: 

CanadaPotential Canadian Northern Corridor would present unique security challenges and opportunities, say researchers, Eye on the Arctic

China: Russia and China to deepen cooperation in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Nordic fighter jet exercises underway inside Arctic Circle, The Independent Barents Observer

Iceland: Nordics should aim for common approach to China’s Arctic involvement says report, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian PM: Russian attack on Ukraine will also have consequences in the North, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Northern Fleet stages war games to protect Arctic shipping, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Putin, Biden talk Northern Sea Route, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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