US Marines move into Troms when the Brigade goes on exercise
Saturday 7 July 2013
The Armed Forces’ leadership confirms to VG that US Marines will practice in northern Norway this autumn and that Americans will be at the same time as 35-40,000 soldiers from NATO countries and partner countries in southern Norway.
But Colonel Sven Halvorsen, Defense Chief Press Officer, rejects the US Department’s decision to weaken the lack of Norwegian ground forces in Northern Norway.
“There is no link there,” Halvorsen told VG.
“This is not part of the exercise Trident Juncture 2018. However, the opportunity is being used when US Marines come across the Atlantic with materials, personnel and vessels to train in northern Norway,” he adds.
Collaborates with Army and National Guard (HV)
Soldiers from the army and HV will provide host country support to the Americans in northern Norway, and they will act as opponents in exercises.
According to the newspaper VG’s information, the force of the US Navy Corps will undertake a landing exercise in Ofotfjorden and head to Indre Troms, where they will train in the Brigade shooting range while large parts of Brigade Nord are on NATO exercise in southern Norway.
Soldiers from 30 countries participate in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Southeastern and Mid-Norway until the fall when the alliance is going to train to defend Norway.
The main part of the exercise will take place between 25 October and 7 November.
Can not replace own soldiers
Three weeks ago, the government gave green light that US Marines could double their strength in Norway, up to 700 soldiers, on rotating training. Parts of this force will be established in the abandoned artillery camp at Setermoen in Troms, as well as the existing base on Værnes outside Trondheim.
But the opposition at the Storting responded that the Brigad’s 2-battalion should be wound up as standing department, while at the same time increasing its presence in Indre Troms:
“We can not replace the deployment of our own forces and then fill up with US troops,” said Marit Arnstad, Center Party’s parliamentary leader, to VG in June.
While the Armed Forces officially rejects this link when large parts of the Brigade are conducting a multi-week practice, other sources of defense say that it is not unnatural to have military preparedness in Northern Norway when Army’s standing camps are elsewhere in the country.
Good defense policy
Anders Romarheim, researcher at the Department of Defense Studies, says to VG that there is a good defense policy to strengthen the military ties between Norway and the United States when political ties are weakened by President Donald Trump.
“Having US Marines on rotating training in Northern Norway is both symbolic and deterrent. They may not be able to perform miracles in an emergency or attack. But if someone goes to an attack on American soldiers, the alarm will be red-hot in Washington, “said Romarheim.
The IFS scientist says it is a paradox that many of those who criticize American presence in Norway also believe that Norway has a small army.
“There are some unrealistic ideas about what Norwegian land power can accomplish in a given situation. We are totally dependent on allied support, and far beyond self-help in an armed conflict. Hitting close ties to the US defense is therefore smart for several reasons, including because the Pentagon will last long after President Trump is out, “said Romarheim.
PS: Brigade Nord was also in southern Norway during exercise Vestland in 2013, and exercise Cold Response in 2016.