The head of the Norwegian Armed Forces’ operational headquarters (FOH) has admitted that as a result of failing to upgrade the country’s military, Norway would not be able to defend itself in an attack.
Speaking to Norway’s state broadcaster NRK, Lieutenant-General Rune Jakobsen said, “If there is an attack in the classical sense, then we do not have the robustness that is necessary [to defend ourselves].”
“The most serious issue is the size of the land,” Lt Gen Jakobsen said. “Reactivity, robustness, and endurance in all branches of defence are too low, and to be concrete: The army is too small in relation to the tasks it has and what is expected of Norway and in NATO.”
Lt Gen Jakobsen said in his assessment that Norway needs two new warships, two new submarines, and a better plan for the transition from old to new materiel in the Air Force.
Norway, which shares a land border with Russia, was criticised by U.S. President Donald J Trump last year for “lack[ing] a credible plan to spend two per cent of its gross domestic product on defence.”
Described by President Trump as NATO’s “eyes and ears” in the north, the oil-rich Nordic country spent 1.56 per cent of GDP on defence in 2018 — down from 1.61 in 2017. Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told reporters in response to the president’s statement that “Norway is committed to the two percent goal in NATO” and will meet it by 2024.
The United States spends the most per GDP on defence at 3.39 per cent, while just six of the remaining 28 NATO members hit the two per cent target: the United Kingdom, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
Germany has come in for particular criticism from President Trump for failing to hit the target for the defence union aimed at protecting Europe from Russia, yet pursues the Nord Stream 2 gas line project with the former Soviet superpower.
German Civilians Least Committed to NATO Alliance, Least Likely to Support Defending Allies https://t.co/asZGcMvJAd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 4, 2019
Saying Germany had become a “captive of Russia,” President Trump told NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg in July 2018, “The former Chancellor of Germany [Gerhard Schröder] is the head of the pipeline company that’s supplying the gas… Germany is totally controlled by Russia… I think it’s not [appropriate] and it’s a very bad thing for NATO.”
Despite having by far the largest economy in the European Union, Germany spends just 1.23 per cent of GDP on defence. In February, it was revealed that the country was set to miss its own reduced target of 1.5 per cent by 2024, with new military spending plans lowering that target to 1.25 per cent by 2023.
U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told Breitbart London last year that Germany’s NATO spending was “woeful” and the country lacked “a serious plan put forward as to how they get to that two per cent of GDP.”
“German military officials know that the readiness issue is a serious problem, there are no working submarines, for example; they don’t have a military that is currently ready,” the ambassador had remarked.
UK Defence Journal reported in February 2018 that the German Navy was without a single operational submarine after a Type 212A was damaged the previous October, while its Type 125s frigates were also not able to enter operational service.
In 2015, it was revealed that only 66 of the German airforce’s Tornado jets were airworthy, while in 2014 the army was reduced to using broom handles for lack of training rifles during a NATO exercise in Norway.
Exclusive: Ambassador Grenell Gives Stark Warning Over ‘Woeful’ Readiness of NATO Allies https://t.co/Lg7Xk3QbFf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 3, 2018