Former lieutenant general wants to scrap Norwegian base policy and get NATO to Finnmark – NRK Troms and Finnmark

– The Russia we see after 24 February turns out to be risk-oriented and very aggressive in its war policy. I am unsure how Russia will develop in the future and that means we need support to ward off an attack in the future.

Former lieutenant general Arne Bård Dalhaug says so Weekend morning on P2 and NRK1 on Sunday.

A new agreement gives the US the right to use areas at Sola and Rygge Airport in southern Norway, Evenes Airport in Nordland and the naval base in Ramsund in Troms.

Dalhaug is now advocating for changing Norwegian base policy and thus opening up the possibility for the US and NATO to get very close to the Russian border in Finnmark.

– If Norway and NATO establish bases and build up forces in Finnmark, this will probably be perceived as an unacceptable tactical threat to the strategically important Russian base area, says former general colleague in the Norwegian Armed Forces, Robert Mood.

For its part, Dalhaug envisions that it can be done in a similar way as in the Baltics. Norway is also a part of it NATO forces in Lithuania.

– NATO wants to have advanced defenses in the Baltic Sea, and all NATO countries there have a significant defense close to the border, but up to Kirkenes there are no allied forces, elaborates Dalhaug, who first launched the idea in Today’s business.

Arne Bård Dalhaug, retired lieutenant general

Arne Bård Dalhaug believes that Norway should let the US and NATO go right up to the border with Russia.

Photo: Sofie Dege Dimmen / NRK

– Just want to increase the tension

– Turning this into a debate about American presence is one-dimensional and will only increase tension in the north. There are many other things we would rather talk about than American bases in Finnmark, says Robert Mood.

Mood clarifies that they agree that Norway must deter Russia, that is to say prevent war. But he believes it is far from certain that a military buildup close to the border in Finnmark will make the northernmost part of our country safer.

Mood believes Norway should be careful not to unnecessarily provoke its large neighbor to the east, which is very concerned about what – and who – is located along its borders.

Base politics was the topic of Sunday’s “Hegelmorgen”. The discussion comes half an hour into the programme.

I think Norway needs to clean its own house

In a chronicle in Aftenposten Mood elaborates on how the distance between the various bases has become even more important after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the conflict in the Black Sea, and that it will thus be impossible to protect Finnmark without shelling.

Therefore, he believes that the most important thing now is to invest in the further development of the Norwegian armed forces, as well as the Home Guard in Finnmark.

– NATO membership and the USA are already a sleeping pillow for Norwegian politicians today. We don’t keep order in our own house. We could do a lot more for about the same amount of money as we spend, says Mood.

– The Norwegian defense is almost irrelevant in a great power conflict, says the former lieutenant general.

Former Lieutenant General Robert Mood

Robert Mood is a retired lieutenant general in the Norwegian Armed Forces and believes that the politicians must think again after the war in Ukraine, but that one should not unnecessarily provoke Russia.

Photo: Sofie Dege Dimmen / NRK

Norway has never shared a land border with another country in NATO. The fact that Sweden and Finland have now applied for NATO membership thus changes a lot.

Brigadier Eystein Kvarving, who is the chief of defense’s communications manager, has previously stated to NRK that the defense of the Scandinavian peninsula must now be seen in a completely different way.

NRK has been in contact with the Ministry of Defense about this matter. They have no opportunity to comment on the matter on Sunday.

Arming up in the north

Just over a month after the war started, the government asked for an extra grant of NOK 3.5 billion to strengthen the defense in the north. The Prime Minister stressed in Parliament that these are necessary measures to be better equipped against an unpredictable and aggressive Russian regime.

There are currently no plans to scrap the 73-year-old declaration that Norway should not have “bases for the combat forces of foreign powers” on Norwegian soil.

That is why it is important to have the debate now, and get people to stay in Finnmark, believe the former lieutenant generals.

– The most important thing we can do is to ensure that Finnmark lives with vibrant local communities. Ensure that there is settlement there and that newly educated people from Oslo want to move up and live there, says Robert Mood.

– District policy is also security policy. We have always put that as a basis for getting people to be in Svalbard. A typical example of where people have been willing to use both tax and levy policy in a way that would be unthinkable on the mainland, says Arne Bård Dalhaug.

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