Despite its relatively small size, Norway punches above its weight in defense investment and leadership in NATO operations at a time when many European countries are cutting defense budgets and turning inward. Norway is at the forefront of NATO’s efforts to modernize military forces and enhance interoperability to ensure the Alliance’s continued effectiveness in a new security landscape.
Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, Norway’s chief of defense, came to the Atlantic Council on February 12 to discuss how Norway is modernizing its military to face these new security challenges, while balancing both its regional focus in the High North and its global approach to participating in out-of-area operations. Norwegian forces are focusing their military modernization efforts around future contingencies in Europe’s broader neighborhood as conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa proliferate.
Admiral Bruun-Hanssen has been chief of defense of Norway’s Armed Forces since 2013. From 2011 to 2013, he served as the commander of Norwegian Joint Headquarters. Prior to this, Bruun-Hanssen was the chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy from 2008 to 2011 following a highly-decorated career in the Norwegian military spanning three decades.
This event was part of the Transatlantic Security Initiative’s NATO in an Era of Global Competition project, orchestrated in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. NATO in an Era of Global Competition is an eighteen-month effort to examine the new set of challenges and opportunities NATO is likely to face, in order to develop relevant concepts for the Alliance’s core priorities after the ISAF mission in Afghanistan winds down.