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Norwegian Armed Forces
File:Norwegian Armed Forces logo.svg
Flag of Norway, state.svg
Founded 9th Century
Current form 1990
Service branches Norwegian army coat of arms.svgArmy
Royal Norwegian Navy.svgNavy (Coast Guard)
File:Luftforsvaret ny logo.pngAir Force
Coat of Arms of the Norwegian Home Guard.svgHome Guard
Coat of arms of Norway.svgCyber Defence
Headquarters Akershus Fortress
Commander-in-chief King Harald V
Minister of Defence Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, (H)
Chief of Defence Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen
Military age 18-44(55) years of age for male compulsory military service (55 years of age if you are an officer); 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women
Conscription 19-month service with 12-month service obligation. Around 50% of conscripts are enrolled in the Home Guard, for a 7-month period (spread out over many years).
Available for
military service
1,078,181 males, age 16-55 (2008 est.),
1,046,550 females, age 16-55 (2008 est.)
Fit for
military service
888,219 males, age 16-55 (2008 est.),
863,255 females, age 16-55 (2008 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
31,980 males (2008 est.),
30,543 females (2008 est.)
Active personnel 26,200 [1]
Budget US$6.2 billion (2009)[1]
Percent of GDP 2.49% of GDP (2010 est.) List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita
Related articles
History World War II
Cold War
Congo Crisis
Gulf War
War in Kosovo
War in Afghanistan
Libyan no-fly zone

The Norwegian Armed Forces (Norwegian language: Forsvaret, "The Defence") is the military organization responsible for the defence of Norway. It consists of five branches, the Norwegian Army, the Royal Norwegian Navy, which includes the Coast Guard, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Home Guard and the Cyber Force, as well as several joint departments. The armed forces number 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees, and have a full-mobilization combat strength of 83,000.[2] Norway employs a weak form of mandatory military service for women and men. While 63841 men and women were called in for the examination of persons liable for military service in 2012 (mandatory for men), just 9265 were conscripted.[3] In practice conscription military service is voluntary. On 14 June 2013 the Norwegian Parliament voted to extend conscription to women making Norway the first NATO member and first European country to make national service compulsory for both men and women.[4] The military expenditure of US$6.2 billion is the highest per capita in Europe.

The armed forces are subordinate the Ministry of Defence, led by Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen. The formal commander-in-chief is King Harald V, however, the de facto commander-in-chief is Chief of Defence Harald Sunde. His staff is located at Akershus Fortress in Oslo, while the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, responsible for commanding operations, is located in Bodø. The main naval base is Haakonsvern in Bergen, the main army camps are in Bardu, Målselv and Rena, and the main air stations are Ørland and Bodø.

An organized military was first assembled in Norway in the 9th century and was early focused around naval warfare. The army was created in 1628 as part of Denmark–Norway, followed by two centuries of regular wars. A Norwegian military was established in 1814, but the military did not see combat until the German occupation of Norway in 1940. Norway abandoned its position as a neutral country in 1949 to become a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Cold War saw a large build-up of air stations and military bases, especially in Northern Norway. Since the 2000s, the military has transformed from a focus on defence from an invasion to a mobile force for international missions.


The Chief of Defence (a four-star general or admiral) heads the armed forces, and is the principal military adviser to the Minister of Defence.

Military branches (in order of seniority):

Other main structures, include:

  • Special forces
  • Defence Staff Norway (DEFSTNOR) in Oslo acts as the staff of the Chief of Defence. It is headed by a three-star general or admiral. DEFSTNOR assigns priorities, manages resources, provides force generation and support activities. Each of the four branches of defence is headed by a two-star general/admiral who are subordinate to DEFSTNOR.
  • National Joint Headquarters (NJHQ) located at Reitan, close to Bodø has operational control of Norwegian armed forces worldwide 24/7. It is headed by the Supreme Commander Norwegian Forces - a three-star general or admiral.
  • Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization (NDLO) at Kolsås outside Oslo is responsible for engineering, procurement, investment, supply, information and communications technology. It is also responsible for maintenance, repair and storage of material.



  • 1 National Joint Headquarters in Bodø
  • 12 Home Guard districts
  • Tactical Mobile Land/Maritime Command
  • Special forces
  • Joint ISTAR Unit (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance)
    • Module based ISTAR Unit
    • Norwegian Coastal Ranger Command (Kystjegerkommandoen in Norwegian)
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle capability
  • Airborne Ground Surveillance (joint NATO project)
  • Norwegian Home Guard - 50,000 personnel + 33,000 (reserve), rapid reaction forces, follow-on-forces, reinforcement forces and reserves.
  • Capacity for information operations
  • Norwegian Defence Security Department (NORDSD)
  • Flexible medical units
  • NRBC protection (Nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical weapons )
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal
  • Joint C2I Unit (command, control and information)
  • Civil Military Coordination Unit (CIMIC)
  • Deployable logistical support
  • 2 mobilisation host country battalions (logistics for allied reinforcements)

Norwegian soldier during a field exercise

Norwegian Army

From 1 August 2009 the Norwegian Army changed its structure:[5][6]

Royal Norwegian Navy

Royal Norwegian Air Force

  • 72 + 2(1987) F-16 Fighting Falcon about 50-60 operational. (Being replaced by 52 F-35A)
  • 2 Air Control Centre/Recognized Air picture Production Centre/Sensor Fusion post (ARS Sørreisa and ARS Mågerø)
  • Strategic Airlift / Aerial refueling (common NATO projects)
  • Maritime surveillance (4 x P-3C Orion and 2 x P-3N Orion)
  • Electronic Warfare (2 + 1 DA-20 Jet Falcon)
  • Transport 4x C-130J Super Hercules
  • Air Defence Artillery (NASAMS)
  • Air Wing for Special Forces (6 x Bell 412)
  • Home Guard (Air)
  • 18 Bell 412 transport and light attack helicopters
  • 6 NH-90 maritime helicopters (frigates)
  • 4 Westland Lynx Special Operations and maritime helicopters (Norwegian Coast Guard)
  • Deployable base support
  • 12 Sea King search and rescue helicopters

Small arms and handguns


External links

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