Norway signs Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States

On April 16, 2021, Norway signed Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States. The U.S. has entered into similar agreements with several Allied countries in Europe, to promote more predictable development of defense cooperation and ensure a robust and practical framework for providing reinforcements in the event of war or crisis.
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Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen signs a Defense Cooperation agreement between Norway and the United States. (Picture source: Torbjørn Kjosvold, Norwegian Armed Forces)

The Agreement establishes and regulates Agreed Facilities and Areas, which are specified locations that may be used for military purposes. Under the Agreement, US forces will have unimpeded access to and use of these facilities and areas. All U.S. activities shall be conducted with full respect for the sovereignty, laws, and international legal obligations of Norway. This is how the Allied presence in Norway has been organized since the end of the Second World War. Any US military activity carried out in Norway will continue to be subject to close coordination between Norway and the US.

Under the Agreement, Agreed Facilities and Areas will be established at Rygge Military Air Station and Airfield, Sola Military Air Station and Airfield, Evenes Military Air Station and Airfield, and Ramsund Naval Station. These locations have been selected with the aim of strengthening cooperation with the U.S. in the air defense and maritime domains in years to come. Infrastructure investments may be made at all four locations. Projects within Agreed Facilities and Areas will be developed in consultation with the U.S., but funding must be allocated under the U.S. defense budget before projects can be initiated. As a result, it will take some time before any planned projects are completed. Additional Agreed Facilities and Areas may be established at a later date if Norway and the U.S. agree. This will also require the approval of the Norwegian Government and the consent of the Storting.

The Agreement will be presented to the Storting in two propositions: one to request consent to ratify the Agreement and the other to propose necessary legislation to implement it in Norwegian law. Both propositions will be submitted to the Storting during the autumn 2021 session. The draft legislation and the Agreement will be circulated to the public in spring 2021, with a three-month deadline.