Nordic defence ministers highlight readiness for joint operations

Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram wants stronger Nordic cooperation. Here from a visit to the Jaeger Battalion GSV in 2022. The Independent Barents Observer/Atle Staalesen)

Although all members of NATO, the five Nordic countries will continue to strengthen their joint NORDEFCO military cooperation.

It was a historical meeting, Norwegian Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram underlined following this week’s NORDEFCO summit.

“In the Nordics we share a common history and geography, as well as basic values and security interests. Now, all of us are also members of the same alliance,” the minister said in a statement.

But the joint membership in NATO notwithstanding, the five countries do not intend to weaken their Nordic Defence Cooperation.

“The world faces serious security challenges and the international system is regularly put to the test. Therefore, we strengthen the Nordic defenses cooperation in order to contribute to allied security in the years to come,” Gram underlined.

During the meeting, the defense ministers signed a document titled “Vision for Nordic Defence Cooperation.” It outlines ambitious plans for the strengthening of military interaction.

“The Nordic countries are prepared and able to conduct combined joint military operations to manage both present and future challenges together and with allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,” the document reads.

“Nordic Defence Cooperation complements and contributes to European and transatlantic security and collective defense,” it adds.

The joint membership in NATO notwithstanding, the five countries do not intend to weaken their Nordic Defence Cooperation. (Photo: Torbjørn Kjosvold, Forsvaret)

Eight priority areas are outlined, among them smooth military mobility across the countries’ borders.

On the agenda is also the strengthening of a joint Nordic ability to conduct, and command, combined joint operations, as well as undertake common operations planning.

The five countries will also strengthen a joint defense industrial base, and also build joint resilience for crisis situations.

Among the priority areas is “total defense to secure adequate support from all sectors of society to the defense sector in all threat scenarios and situations.”

The Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It was established with the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2009.

As Denmark in early 2024 took over the rotating two-year presidency of the structure, the authorities in Copenhagen underlined that the Arctic and North Atlantic would be their upcoming priorities.

Increased focus on the Arctic and North Atlantic will be amongst Copenhagen’s priorities when it takes over chairmanship of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) from Sweden on January 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defense, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Finland: Defence chief: Finland may permanently host Nato troops, Yle news

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arctic 

Norway: “Historical strengthening of our Armed Forces,” says Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

RussiaAs NATO forces move north for exercise, Northern Fleet sails out frigates, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedes must mentally prepare for war, says military top brass, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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