US Marine training to continue

Joint cold weather exercises in Norway will extend at least another year

Photo: Cpl. Dalton Precht / USMC / Public Domain
Norwegian Minister of Defense Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide talks with Lt. Col. Justin Ansel, the commanding officer of Task Force 1/8, and officers from Norway and Sweden at a training location near Steinkjer, Norway, in March 2016. Exercise Cold Response 16 is a multinational exercise combining the efforts of 13 NATO allies and partner nations and approximately 15,000 troops.

Norwegian Ministry of Defense

The rotational U.S. Marine Corps force currently conducting cold weather training in Norway will be extended.

Since January 2017, approximately 330 Marines from the Unites States Marine Corps (USMC) have been stationed in Værnes, Mid-Norway, on a limited rotational basis. They will now continue to rotate for another year, through 2018.

“We are pleased to announce that—following an initial evaluation of the limited trial period—we are extending the USMC rotational presence for another year. The U.S. and Norway collaborate closely on a host of important global and regional issues. The USMC has been doing cold weather exercises in Norway for several decades, and this longstanding practice will now be continued and developed further. The rotational training has been successful and is beneficial for both the Norwegian Armed Forces and the U.S. Marine Corps,” says Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide.

“Allied training has been an integral part of Norway’s defense and security policy for decades. Increasing allied training in Norway is also a key element in our new long-term plan for the Armed Forces, and we are pleased that the government now continues to deliver on this aim by extending this rotational presence. The USMC rotational force has provided significantly enhanced opportunities for mutual exercises and improved interoperability between Norway and the U.S. The extension is a direct result of our policy—and is a continuation of an already mutually beneficial relationship,” Eriksen Søreide says.

A long and close relationship
“Norway has a long and close relationship with the U.S. on defense and security cooperation. At almost any given time, Norway is hosting training or exercises with the United States and other Allies and partners to support interoperability of forces. We see this continuation as one of the many ways that we keep our bilateral bond strong and vital,” says Eriksen Søreide. “We will continue to accommodate for military exercises and training for allies and partners in Norway. In this way Norway contributes to allied forces’ ability to operate in challenging Norwegian climatic and geographical conditions, thus increasing the credibility of the collective defense guarantees in crisis and armed conflict. A high level of regular allied presence creates a stabilizing state of normality in times of peace, which contributes to deterrence and defense,” Eriksen Søreide says.

Exercise Cold Response
This rotational force agreement builds on the framework of the longstanding agreements between the U.S. and Norway on prepositioning and reinforcement, renewed in 2006 in the Memorandum of Understanding Governing Prestockage and Reinforcement of Norway. The renewal of the agreement, approved by the Storting (Parliament), opens the door for considerable American training and exercises in Norway.

This article originally appeared in the June 30, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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