“A good, but tight, defence budget”
The Government proposes continuing investment in the Armed Forces in 2011 – with a defence budget of NOK 39,249 million. Increased activity, new materiel and security in the High North will be given priority. Increased funding and new efficiency measures in the Armed Forces will in fact represent a strengthening of the defence budget in excess of NOK 300 million.
“This is a good, but tight, budget with clear priorities. We are giving priority to receiving and bringing into service new aircraft, helicopters and naval vessels. And Norway’s military presence in the North – the Armed Forces’ contribution to the Government’s High North Strategy – will be strongly maintained,” says defence minister Grete Faremo.
The budget proposals will provide increased naval activity, the continuing build-up of Army personnel and the phasing in of new transport aircraft. In addition, the Government proposes to strengthen funding for the security of Norwegian forces in Afghanistan, Home Guard training activities will be substantially expanded and the capabilities of the Coast Guard will be improved. All together, these priority measures reflect the strengthened focus on the northern areas. All this is in line with the provisions of the Long-Term Plan.
The Government will continue to maintain Norway’s contribution to international peace and stability at a high level, with the Norwegian force contribution to Afghanistan as its most important commitment. The work of looking after the rights of veterans remains a high priority.
The strengthening of high priority areas also means, however, limiting the time at sea for naval vessels other than the Fridtjof Nansen and Skjold classes, reduced activity for some of the Air Force systems and a tight budget for the Defence Logistics organisation.
Increased freedom of action
The Government’s proposals entail an increase in funding for the work set out in the Long-Term Plan for the Armed Forces 2009-2012 of a further NOK 75 million in 2011. At 2008 prices the funding allocations for the years 2009-2011 will be increased by NOK 547 million out of the NOK 800 million envisaged in the Long-Term Plan as the goal for 2012. “Both the Government and the Norwegian Armed Forces are well advanced in the implementation of the Long-Term Plan and the principal objectives are within reach,” says the Defence Minister.
Freedom of action in following the Long-Term Plan is supplemented in total by something in excess of NOK 300 million due to the Armed Forces’ internal efficiency measures which amount to approximately NOK 230 million.
The defence budget is increased by NOK 4,318 million. Of this amount, NOK 3,448 million stems from a technical transition from net to gross budgeting for the activities of the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, while NOK 970 million arises from pay and prices index adjustments and other technical changes.
The funds allocated for the normal activities of the Defence sector increases by NOK 75 million in real terms in 2011. The operating budget amounts to NOK 29,259 million, a reduction of NOK 174 million (-0.61 percent). This reduction, however, is due to the fact that, in 2010, special supplementary allocations were made to cover the UN operation in Chad and the EU’s maritime operation off the coast of Somalia which were both completed in 2010. In real terms, therefore, the ordinary operating budget for 2011 represents an increase compared with 2010. The Government is proposing a total investment budget of NOK 9,990 million, representing an increase of NOK 73 million (+0.75) in real terms compared with the consolidated budget for 2010.
The Government proposes the allocation of NOK 1,187 million to Norwegian forces overseas. Afghanistan remains Norway’s main international commitment. Here Norway has responsibility for leading ISAF’s stabilisation team in Faryab province. The main focus will continue to be on strengthening the ability of the Afghans to take responsibility for their own stability and security. The funding for Afghanistan will, because of a deterioration in the security situation, in fact be increased by NOK 77 million in relation to the consolidated budget for 2010. In 2011 Norway will contribute the sum of USD 10 million to NATO’s ANA Trust Fund in support of the Afghan National Army. As part of the international community’s fight against piracy, a number of countries are contributing to the anti-piracy operation around the Horn of Africa. The situation is being kept closely under review and the possibility cannot be excluded that Norway may be asked to contribute again to the anti-piracy operation.
The Government proposes a funding allocation of NOK 5,289 million for the Norwegian Army. Through an increase in funding in real terms combined with the freeing of resources internally, the Army’s funding represents an increase of NOK 206 million compared with 2010. The Army’s additional expenses in connection with operations abroad are included. The way is being prepared for an increase in the manpower available to the brigade in North Norway. Since 2006, Army numbers (full-time equivalent) have increased by around 1,100 (about 50 percent) and this trend is set to continue in 2011. It is anticipated that the build-up of personnel and the increase in exercise activity will continue beyond 2011.
The Government proposes a funding allocation for the Royal Norwegian Navy, excluding the Coast Guard, of NOK 3,282 million. Through an increase in funding in real terms combined with the freeing of resources internally, the Navy’s funding represents an increase of NOK 81 million in total compared with 2010. This strengthening of the Navy’s budget will be directed towards an increase in sea time for the Navy’s new vessels and an enhanced capability to provide a naval presence in northern waters. In addition, the upgrading of mine countermeasures vessels and Ula class submarines will continue. The Norwegian Navy’s operational capability will be strengthened in 2011, but the priority assigned to implementation of the new structure means that it will be difficult to maintain 2010 levels of activity for the other classes of vessel. It is proposed that the training of naval recruits should continue to be based at Madla.
The Government proposes a funding allocation for the Royal Norwegian Air Force of NOK 3,968 million. Through an increase in funding in real terms combined with the freeing of resources internally, the funding allocation for the Air Force represents an increase of NOK 89 million in total compared with 2010. The introduction of the C130J transport aircraft and the test programme for the NH-90 maritime helicopters will continue to take place at Bardufoss. The level of activity for combat aircraft, maritime surveillance aircraft, aircraft used for electronic warfare purposes, and the Norwegian MEDEVAC helicopters deployed in Afghanistan, will continue as at present but the level of activity for other Air Force systems may be somewhat lower. The northern regions will continue to be given priority where aircraft operations are concerned. A specially adapted detachment of NH-90 helicopters will be established at Haakonsvern naval base in Bergen to provide support for the frigate force and the Coast Guard in South Norway.
The Government proposes a funding allocation for the Norwegian Coast Guard of NOK 978 million. Through an increase in funding in real terms combined with the freeing of resources internally, the funding allocation for the Coast Guard represents an increase of NOK 47 million in total compared with 2010. The structure of the Coast Guard’s fleet has been modernised and in 2011 the Coast Guard will have 14 modern vessels at its disposal. In order to ensure optimum utilisation of the new vessels in the Outer Coast Guard, one of the Inner Coast Guard vessels will be withdrawn from patrols in southern Norwegian waters in 2011. The Commander of the Norwegian Coast Guard, with the associated staff functions, will move to Sortland in Nordland county, currently the Coast Guard’s northern base, to form a single integrated operational Coast Guard command centre.
The Government proposes a funding allocation for the Norwegian Home Guard of NOK 1,049 which represents a real increase of NOK 8 million compared with 2010. Training in the regional structure will be extended from 20 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2011. In addition, about 90 percent of the rapid response force will receive training in 2011. Taken together, these measures will strengthen substantially the operational capability of the Home Guard. Some minor adjustments in the organisation of the Home Guard will be made to strengthen the emphasis on high priority activities. The Inspector General of the Norwegian Home Guard , together with the associated staff functions, will relocate to Terningmoen. This move to Terningmoen, close to the Østerdal garrison and the Norwegian Army’s Centre of Competence, will provide the staff with access to stronger professional support.
Funding allocated to the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) has been reduced by NOK 104 million in order to strengthen the financing of high priority activity in the Armed Forces. Even so, the Defence Logistics Organisation will deliver operational capabilities that meet current requirements. Savings within NDLO include some curtailment of the scheme under which service personnel are eligible for free travel. This adjustment brings the Armed Forces more closely into line with other public sector organisations. This will not affect travel where there is a legal entitlement.
The Head of the Defence Information Infrastructure Command (INI) is assumed to be able to maintain the organisation’s activity at 2010 levels. Steps are being taken to strengthen the Communication Information System Task Group, to better support force contributions planned for 2011. The Head of INI, together with the associated staff functions, will move to Jørstadmoen at Lillehammer and will be co-located with the Armed Forces Centre of Competence for Command, Control and Information Systems. The move to Jørstadmoen will, by bringing together INI and related training activities and operational force production, make a positive contribution to the process of moving towards a network-based defence as well as enhancing the operational capability of the Armed Forces as a whole.
The budget for Norwegian Military Music is increased by NOK 1 million compared with the consolidated budget for 2010, allowing for the fact that the Norwegian Military Tattoo takes place in alternate years and not in 2011. Priority will be given to internal ceremonial activities within the defence sector.
The Government proposes a materiel investment budget of NOK 8,132 million for 2011. The greater part of the materiel investment funding will be devoted in 2011 to ongoing projects in which deliveries have already commenced. This includes payments in connection with Fridtjof Nansen and Skjold class vessels, new helicopters for the Coast Guard and the frigates, new transport aircraft, new artillery systems and the upgrading of F-16 combat aircraft and Ula class submarines.
Activity associated with property, buildings and installations, including NATO infrastructure projects, is allocated overall funding of NOK 1,858 million in the budget proposals for 2011. As a result of strict prioritisation, the funding allocation for nationally financed projects has been reduced by NOK 131 million while the funding for NATO financed infrastructure has been cut by NOK 98 million, mainly because the information infrastructure at the Joint Warfare Centre at Stavanger is now nearing completion. As an important element of the comprehensive strategy for the High North, the Government proposes to increase the Norwegian Army’s activities in Inner Troms still further. Substantial investment in buildings and installations is therefore needed to support the increased activities in this area.
For 2011 the Government proposes a budget of NOK 125 million to fund the work of the National Fortifications Heritage, together with an additional NOK 60 million for extraordinary maintenance. This is an increase in real terms of NOK 15 million compared with the consolidated budget for 2010 and it represents a contribution towards reaching the national target for the level of regular maintenance of heritage buildings and installations in the defence sector by the year 2020.
The number of national service conscripts undergoing initial military training will be maintained at approximately the same level as in 2010. Improved standards for the assessment interview scheme and a qualification system for initial military service will both contribute substantially to raising the status and predictability of this initial service for those who undertake it. These improvements, combined with established measures already being taken to raise the status of national service, will ensure that the period of initial military service will be seen as both attractive and relevant in today’s society.
Source: Ministry of Defense