Norway announced yesterday it has accepted the Pentagon's proposal to base 330 US Marines on its territory,reversing a longstanding policy of not allowing foreign troops to be based in Norway.The rotational basing at Vaernes Air Station near Trondheim in Central Norway some 100 kilometers from the Russian border will be for a trial period in 2017.
Last week,there was concern when a number of Russian warships sailed down from Severomorsk and along the Norwegian coastline as they made their way to Syria.*
The US initiative is welcome and also fits well within ongoing processes in NATO to increase exercises,training and interoperability within the Alliance,said Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Erikson Soreide.The defence of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcements,and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our Allies come here to gain knowledge of how to operate in Norway with Norwegian forces.*
A Marine Corps presence in Norway will increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in Northern Europe,said Major General Niel E. Nelson,commander,US Marine Forces Europe.*
Norway currently stores a large amount of NATO equipment in caves,restoring its Cold War practice.It is said that the equipment,including tanks,is enough for 15,000 Marines.*
The Marines already have a rotational presence in NATO with their Black Sea Rotational Force being based at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base,Romania.