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
Coat of arms of the Royal Norwegian Navy.svg Navy (Coast Guard)
Luftforsvaret ny logo.png Air Force
Coat of Arms of the Norwegian Home Guard.svg Home Guard
Headquarters Norwegian Joint Headquarters
King Harald V
Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Minister of Defence Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide
Chief of Defence Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen
Military age 19-44(55) years of age for male compulsory military service (55 years of age if you are an officer); 19 years of age for female military service (compulsory for women born in 1997 or later)[1][2]
Conscription 19-month service obligation.
Available for
military service
1,078,181 males, age 19-55,
1,046,550 females, age 19-55
Fit for
military service
888,219 males, age 19-55,
863,255 females, age 19-55
Reaching military
age annually
31,980 males,
30,543 females
Active personnel 25 500[3]
Reserve personnel 45 000[4]
Budget US$7.2 billion (2014)[5]
Percent of GDP 1.62% of GDP (2016 est.) [6]
Foreign suppliers  Austria
 United Kingdom
 United States
Related articles
** Only a small selection of engagements / missions performed by the Norwegian armed forces / saboturs / resistance forces **
Ranks Ranks and insignia

The Norwegian Armed Forces (Norwegian: Forsvaret, "The Defence") is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Norway. It consists of four branches, the Norwegian Army, the Royal Norwegian Navy, which includes the Coast Guard, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, and the Home Guard, as well as several joint departments. The armed forces number 25,500 personnel[12], including civilian employees, and have a full-mobilisation combat strength of 83,000.[13]

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 station is Ørland.

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:

  • 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.


Brigade soldiers at an exercise

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;[15] in 2015 conscription was extended to women making Norway the first NATO member and first European country to make national service compulsory for both men and women.[16] There is a right of conscientious objection.



Norwegian soldier during a field exercise

Norwegian Army[edit]

From 1 August 2009 the Norwegian Army changed its structure:[17][18]

Royal Norwegian Navy[edit]

Royal Norwegian Air Force[edit]

Norwegian Home Guard[edit]

Norwegian Cyber Defence Force[edit]

Norwegian Special Operations Command[edit]

Small arms and handguns[edit]


The Armed Forces ordered a Meatless Monday in November 2013, where only vegetarian rations are served, the press statements read, that this serves as a means to "fight climate change".[21][22]


  1. ^ "Verneplikt" (in Norwegian). The Norwegian Armed Forces. Retrieved 19 February 2017. 
  2. ^ Forsvarsdepartementet. "Lov om verneplikt [vernepliktsloven]" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 19 February 2017. english title: Military Compulsory Service Act of Norway 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Norwegian Defence Budget for 2014". October 15, 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Norsk lyttestasjon viktig brikke i Falklandskrigen". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Tall og statistikk –". NDF. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  14. ^ deBlanc-Knowles, Tess (6 October 2015). "Creation of a Norwegian SOCOM: Challenges and Opportunities". Global SOF Foundation. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "NDF official numbers". NDF. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  16. ^ "Universal Conscription". Norwegian Armed Forces. 11 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Front page –" (PDF). Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  18. ^ "Front page –" (PDF). Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  19. ^ "Perfecting the Javelin simulator – the new anti-armor weapon is being phased in this year". Hærens Styrker. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Smith, Jennifer (2013-11-20). "Norwegian army goes vegetarian as it goes to war against climate change by cutting 'ecologically unfriendly' foods". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  22. ^ Saul, Heather (2013-11-30). "Norwegian army placed on strict vegetarian diet". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 

External links[edit]