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Forsvaret / Armed Forces

The Norwegian Armed Forces collectively represent the largest agency subordinate to the Ministry of Defence and are responsible for force production and the various service branches. According to the Norwegian Constitution, the King is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. This authority is exercised by the King in Council of State, i.e. by the Government.

Political control of the Armed Forces is exercised through cooperation and the division of power between the Parliament and the Government. It is the Government which has the highest executive authority responsible for military and civil preparedness in peacetime, and for the command of all aspects of total defence in time of crisis and war. In important cases involving foreign and security policy, the Parliament's agencies are consulted prior to decisions being taken. Moreover, Clause 25 in the Norwegian Constitution states that the armed forces ("the land and naval forces of the Realm") "may not be increased or reduced without the consent of Parliament."

The military command authority is delegated to military commanders. The Chief of Defence is the country's highest ranking military official and is the principal adviser to the Government and the Defence Minister on military questions as well as exercising full command of Norwegian Defence. The Chief of Defence is head of the Norwegian Armed Forces and at the same time is the Ministry of Defence's most senior military adviser. The Chief of Defence's support staffs occupy posts both in the Ministry of Defence and in the Defence Staff. The Defence Staff, which is collocated with the Ministry of Defence, has been established to assist the Chief of Defence in the running of the Armed Forces.

In peacetime the Chief of Defence exercises full command of Norwegian Defence. In time of war the Chief of Defence continues to be the Government's closest military adviser while the operational command authority over the military forces, with the exception of the Home Guard, is assumed to be transferred to NATO's Integrated Command Structure. The military operational headquarters, the National Joint Headquarters, has been established as a national headquarters to exercise command of joint operations and to coordinate territorial forces remaining under national command in time of crisis and war.

The Defence Staff, usually referred to by the Norwegian acronym FST, is responsible, on behalf of the Chief of Defence, for the execution of the Armed Forces' tasks, for ensuring that decisions are followed up and for exercising day-to-day employer responsibility for Armed Forces personnel. This entails responsibility for ensuring that the plans and budgets adopted and communicated by the Ministry of Defence are duly implemented. The individual Service Chiefs of Staff form part of the Defence Staff and have executive responsibility for force production in their respective Service branches.

The National Joint Headquarters (NJHQ) in Stavanger is the national crisis management command center and continuously monitors the situation picture relating to Norwegian areas of interest both on land and in the airspace and sea areas under Norwegian jurisdiction. The National Joint Headquarters has operational control of Norway's territorial defence and is responsible for planning and leading the operations of the Norwegian Armed Forces both in peacetime and in time of crisis and war. This means that NJHQ is also responsible for Norwegian forces abroad. NJHQ plans and leads the major military exercises conducted in Norway, prepares for Allied training in Norway and manages projects concerned with military development. Regional Headquarters North in Bod forms an integral part of NJHQ with special responsibility for the northern areas.

The Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) areas of responsibility include engineering services, procurement, investment, supply, information and communications technology services as well as the maintenance, repair and storage of materiel. NDLO is also responsible for the operation of communications and computer systems within the Defence Establishment. NDLO also supports the Army, Navy, Air Force and Home Guard force production functions as well as the operational units of the Armed Forces.

The Intelligence Service is responsible for the acquisition of information concerning matters outside Norway's borders. The Service also gathers, processes and analyses information relating to Norwegian interests seen in relation to foreign states, organisations and individuals. The purpose of intelligence activity is to contribute towards providing the Norwegian authorities with a sound basis for decision-making where security, defence and foreign policy matters are concerned.

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Page last modified: 14-11-2015 17:42:45 ZULU