Norway To Ask For Larger US Marine Presence On Russia’s Doorstep
The Norweigan government plans to ask the United States to send more U.S. Marines to the Scandinavian country, according to Reuters. Norway hopes to see up to 700 Marines in the country in 2019, more than twice the amount that is currently stationed there.
The Marine Corps uses Norway as a training ground to prepare Marines for operations in Winter environments. In 2018, Marines conducted joint training exercises with the Norwegian Home Guard in close-quarter battle tactics.
“I’m looking forward to training more with the Marines in the future because they do things differently, so I will learn more,” said one Norwegian Soldier while speaking to a Marine Corps journalist.
The current Marine contingent began rotating to Norway in January of 2017, which was the first time since World War Two that foreign troops had been stationed in Norway, according to Reuters.
Oslo’s motivation behind the request may be two-fold. Officially, the Norweigan government says that the request for more Marines is only to improve the cold-weather capabilities of NATO forces. However, some believe that Oslo hopes more Marines in-country will deter future Russian aggression.
Despite their request for a larger Marine contingent, Oslo has no plans to ask the United States for a permanent base inside Norway. The United States military, however, may have aspirations to station four fighter jets at a Norweigan military base 40 miles south of Oslo. Currently, Norway is a contributor to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force which operates a fleet of Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning & Control System (AWACS) aircraft that patrol NATO airspace.