New Norwegian defence chief formally takes over

General Harald Sunde (right). Photo: Taral Jansen /

General Harald Sunde has assumed new duties as Norway’s Chief of Defence, succeeding Sverre Diesen. A formal ceremony took place outside the Defence Ministry at Akershus in Oslo on Sept. 30.

Lieutenant General Harald Sunde (55), who was appointed General and new Chief of Defence by the King in Council on May 29, is now the highest-ranking military officer in Norway.

Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen described Sunde as “committed” and “inclusive” and also stressed that he’s known for “taking good care” of people.

Sunde said he intends to do the job the politicians tell him to do. “I will defend democracy, that’s why I wear the uniform,” he said. He did say, however, that he doesn’t see much potential for a “Victory Day” in Afghanistan like Norway experienced in 1945. Nor can he predict how long Norwegian and other NATO soldiers will need to stay in Afghanistan. “That’s up to the politicians,” he said.

Sunde was born in Hurdal in Akershus county. He graduated as the best student from the Officer Candidate School for the Cavalry in 1974 and from the Military Academy in 1979. He completed the Norwegian Army Staff College in 1986 and was a student at “Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr” from 1987 to 1989. He is also a graduate from the US Army War College from 1999.

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