In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Rear Admiral Bernt Grimstvedt
The Royal Norwegian Navy represents a democracy that in 2014 is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its constitution. While recognizing a long history, the world is changing, and my navy is changing with it. I point to three emerging trends that influence the future development of the Norwegian Navy.
The first is climate change. For Norway, its effects are real. Rising sea temperatures result in an increased melting of ice in the Arctic, making new and substantial areas available for commercial exploitation. Activities like fisheries, tourism, and shipping are already showing a rapid growth. For the Norwegian Navy, this implies that our traditional area of operations is expanding. The second trend is the effect of globalization and the resulting increased reliance on seaborne trade. Norway is deeply integrated in this commerce and is also one of the main transporters in the world. Therefore the nation—both the government and the civilian sector—has a vested interest in keeping the global commons in a safe and secure state. The third is the ever- increasing complexity of naval warfare. This is self-evident in the technical aspects of developing and maintaining a navy but also influences the operational arena.This trend is particularly challenging for small navies, because the capacity and competence within the organization always will be limited.
In sum, the result is a balancing act for the Royal Norwegian Navy. On one hand, the trends imply more tasks, missions, and higher operational tempo. On the other, those same trends necessitate a greater need to educate, train, and develop the navy. Of course, both these utilize the same limited resources. To alleviate some of these challenges, Norway will seek to partner with other navies. Clearly, Norway will continue to do so within the framework of NATO, but we will also increase bilateral partnerships. This will be especially important within the areas of training and education. As a small navy, our ability to maintain the know-how and infrastructure to provide necessary quality within training is limited. Therefore, cooperation with navies with up to date operational experience and larger resources is of utmost importance to our future capability.