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Norway Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret or "the Defense"): Norwegian Army (Haeren), Royal Norwegian Navy (Kongelige Norske Sjoeforsvaret; includes Coastal Rangers and Coast Guard (Kystvakt)), Royal Norwegian Air Force (Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret), Norwegian Special Forces, Norwegian Cyber Defense Force, Home Guard (Heimevernet, HV) (2024)

note: the national police have primary responsibility for internal security; the National Police Directorate, an entity under the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, oversees the police force

Military expenditures

1.8% of GDP (2024 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2022)
1.7% of GDP (2021)
2% of GDP (2020)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 27,000 active personnel (9,000 Army; 4,300 Navy; 4,700 Air Force; 9,000 other, including special operations, cyber, joint staff, intelligence, logistics support, active Home Guard, etc.); approximately 40,000 Home Guard (2024)

note: active personnel include about 10,000 conscripts

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a mix of modern, imported European, US, and domestically produced weapons systems and equipment; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of weapons systems to Norway (2023)

Military service age and obligation

19-35 years of age for selective compulsory military service for men and women; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women volunteers; 12-19 month service obligation; conscripts first serve 12 months between the ages of 19 and 28, and then up to 4-5 refresher training periods until age 35, 44, 55, or 60 depending on rank and function (2024)

note 1: individuals conscripted each year are selected from a larger cohort who are evaluated through online assessments and physical tests; for the 2023 conscription cohort, over 24,000 men and women were selected for the physical tests, and from among them about 9,800 were selected for military service—36 percent were women; Norway has had compulsory military service since 1907

note 2: Norway was the first NATO country to allow women to serve in all combat arms branches of the military (1985); it also has an all-female special operations unit known as Jegertroppen (The Hunter Troop), which was established in 2014; as of 2023, women comprised about 20% of the military's full-time personnel

note 3: beginning in 1995, the military began offering Icelandic citizens the opportunity to apply for admission to officer schools in Norway with an associated education and service contract under special reasons and based on recommendations from Icelandic authorities; as early as 1996, Norway and Iceland entered into a cooperation agreement on the voluntary participation of Icelandic personnel in Norwegian force contributions in foreign operations

Military deployments

up to 200 Lithuania (NATO) (2023)

note: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including Norway, have sent additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

the Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret) are responsible for protecting Norway and its allies, including monitoring Norway’s airspace, digital, land, and maritime areas, maintaining the country’s borders and sovereignty, contributing to NATO and UN missions, and providing support to civil society, such as assisting the police, search and rescue, and maritime counterterrorism efforts; the military’s territorial and sovereignty defense missions are complicated by Norway’s vast sea areas, numerous islands, long and winding fjords, and difficult and mountainous terrain; a key area of focus is its far northern border with Russia

Norway is one of the original members of NATO, and the Alliance is a key component of Norway’s defense policy; the Forsvaret participates regularly in NATO exercises, missions, and operations, including air policing of NATO territory, NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, and standing naval missions, as well as operations in non-NATO areas, such as the Middle East; the Forsvaret also cooperates closely with the militaries of other Nordic countries through the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO; established 2009), which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden; areas of cooperation include armaments, education, human resources, training and exercises, and operations; Norway contributes to the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force, a pool of high-readiness military forces from 10 Baltic and Scandinavian countries designed to respond to a wide range of contingencies both in peacetime and in times of crisis or conflict with a focus on the High North, North Atlantic, and Baltic Sea regions; the Forsvaret participates in UN missions in such areas as Africa and the Middle East; Norway has close military ties with the US, including rotational US military deployments and an agreement allowing for mutual defense activities and US military forces to access some Norwegian facilities 

the Forsvaret is a compact and mixed force of conscripts and professionals that trains regularly and is equipped with modern weapons systems; its origins go back to the leidangen, defense forces which were established along the coastline in the 10th century to protect the Norwegian coast; the Army was created in 1628; its principal combat forces are a mechanized infantry brigade, plus a special operations commando (group); the Finnmark Land Command safeguards Norway's northernmost land territories and the land border with Russia; the Army is supplemented by the Home Guard (Heimevernet or HV), a reserve mobilization and national emergency force consisting of some 40,000 part-time soldiers spread over 11 districts where they have territorial responsibility for protecting key civilian and military installations and may assist civil authorities during natural disasters and search and rescue operations; the HV includes several rapid-reaction intervention task forces

the Navy is comprised of the fleet, the Coast Guard, and several bases; the fleet has a small mix of frigates, corvettes, and attack submarines, as well as mine warfare vessels; it also has a special operations group and the Coastal Hunter Command (Kystjegerkommandoen), which monitors coastal seas and land; the Air Force has about 60 US-made combat aircraft and is slated to have a new fully operational fleet of US F-35 stealth multirole fighters by 2025 (2024)

NOTE: The information regarding Norway on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Norway 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Norway 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.