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Nordic nation to nearly double military spending

Norway will boost its defense budget to 2.7% of GDP, its government announced on Friday

Norway has announced a plan to almost double military expenditure over the next 12 years. Focusing on its navy and air defense, the plan will make Norway one of NATO’s largest spenders.

The Norwegian government will pump a total of 1.6 trillion kroner ($93 billion) into its military between now and 2036, it said in a statement on Friday. By then, the country’s defense budget will be almost twice as large as it is today, measured in real value.

According to a plan presented to lawmakers, Norway will spend 2.7% of its GDP on defense by 2036, up from 2% this year.

The document calls for the purchase of a minimum of five new frigates with anti-submarine warfare capability, as well as a minimum of five new submarines. It also calls for investment in surveillance drones and satellites, and the procurement of ground-based air defense systems.

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“Norway is a nation with considerable maritime interests,” the government said. “Combined with our immediate proximity to Russia’s nuclear submarine force, maintaining situational awareness in the High North and in the North Atlantic is paramount.”

The Norwegian army will also be expanded from one to three brigades, while 5,000 more conscripts will be added to the country’s 40,000-strong Home Guard.

NATO requires that its members spend a minimum of 2% of their GDP on defense. According to the bloc’s figures, 18 out of 32 member states are expected to meet or exceed this threshold in 2024. This figure represents a sixfold increase since 2014, when only three members – the US, UK, and Greece – hit the target.

Earlier this week, Polish President Andrzej Duda proposed that the 2% threshold be ramped up to 3% to counter Russia’s supposed “imperial policy,” and as a response to growing tensions in the Middle East and the Pacific. At present, only Greece, Poland, and the US meet or exceed Duda’s target.

In recent months, numerous Western leaders have talked up the threat of a Russian attack on NATO to justify increased military expenditure. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed such claims as “utter nonsense” designed to “beat the money out” of Western taxpayers.

 

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