Norwegian Armed Forces

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Norwegian Armed Forces
Coat of arms of the Norwegian Armed Forces.svg
Coat of arms
Founded 9th Century
Current form 1990
Service branches Norwegian army coat of arms.svg Army
Royal Norwegian Navy.svg Navy (Coast Guard)
30px Air Force
Coat of Arms of the Norwegian Home Guard.svg Home Guard
Coat of arms of Norway.svg Cyber 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,
1,046,550 females, age 16-55
Fit for
military service
888,219 males, age 16-55,
863,255 females, age 16-55
Reaching military
age annually
31,980 males,
30,543 females
Active personnel 24,450[1]
Reserve personnel 45,250
Budget US$7.2 billion (2014)[2]
Percent of GDP 1.4% of GDP (2012 est.) List of countries by military expenditures
Related articles
History World War II
Battle of the Atlantic
Norwegian heavy water sabotage
Cold War
Korean war
Congo Crisis
Falklands War [3]
Gulf War
International Force for East Timor
Operation Sky Monitor
Operation Sharp Guard
Implementation Force
War in Kosovo
Kosovo Force
Operation Allied Force
Operation Joint Guardian
Incident at Pristina airport
2001 Macedonia conflict
Operation Essential Harvest
Operation Eagle Assist
Operation Active Endeavour
War in Afghanistan
Task Force K-Bar
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Harekate Yolo
Operation Anaconda
Operation Jacana
International Security Assistance Force
Operation Pickaxe-Handle
Operation chashme naw
Operation Karez
2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack
Release of hostage Christina Meier
April 2012 Afghanistan attacks
Hostage incident at Qargha Reservoir / Lake Qara june 2012
Uzbin Valley ambush (after action only)
Counterinsurgency in Northern Afghanistan
Operation Ocean Shield
Operation Atalanta
Libyan no-fly zone
Operation Odyssey Dawn
Operation Ocean Shield
Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons
Icelandic Air Policing
Baltic Air Policing
Operation Resolute Support
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve
Military intervention against ISIL
Icelandic Air Policing 2009/2011/2014/2016
Baltic Air Policing 2005/2007/2015
United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
** A selection of engagements / missions only **

The Norwegian Armed Forces (Norwegian: Forsvaret, "The Defence") is the military organisation 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-mobilisation combat strength of 83,000.[4]

The armed forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defence, led by Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide. The formal commander-in-chief is King Harald V; however, the de facto commander-in-chief is Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen. 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 organised 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 Organisation (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. Among European NATO members, the military expenditure of US$7.2 billion is the highest per capita.


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 Organisation (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.


Norway employs a weak form of mandatory military service for men and women. While 63,841 men and women were called in for the examination of persons liable for military service in 2012 (mandatory for men), 9265 were conscripted.[5] 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.[6] There is a right of conscientious objection.



Norwegian soldier during a field exercise

Norwegian Army

From 1 August 2009 the Norwegian Army changed its structure:[7][8]

Royal Norwegian Navy

Royal Norwegian Air Force

Norwegian Home Guard

Norwegian Cyber Defence Force

Small arms and handguns


  1. The Military Balance 2013 (2013 ed.). International Institute for Security Studies. 14 May 2013. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-1857436808. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Norwegian Defence Budget for 2014". October 15, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Norsk lyttestasjon viktig brikke i Falklandskrigen". Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Tall og statistikk -". NDF. Retrieved 2013-03-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "NDF official numbers". NDF. Retrieved 2007-07-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Norway becomes first NATO country to draft women into military". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-06-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Front page -" (PDF). Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Front page -" (PDF). Retrieved 24 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Perfecting the Javelin simulator - the new anti-armor weapon is being phased in this year". Hærens Styrker. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links