Direct Defense of Norway and the Role of NATO: The Norwegian MoD Explains to the Norwegian People


Recently, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence created a web page and posted a video explaining to the Norwegian population about the coming Trident Juncture exercise and what the core focus of Norwegian defense unfolding in the current period.

What follows is our translation (with apologies to our Norwegian friends) of the webpage and of the video.

Why Should Norway Have a Defense Force?

Why is Norway a member of NATO?

Norway is a small country with just over five million inhabitants. We have never had and will never have our own defense that is big enough to resist a major attack by a powerful external enemy for a long time.

NATO membership is therefore crucial for Norway’s security because the NATO Treaty establishes that an attack on a member state should be regarded as an attack on all. “One for all, all for one” has therefore been the foundation of Norwegian security policy ever since 1949.

Why will 50,000 NATO soldiers come to Norway for an exercise?

NATO is a defense alliance that, in its size and power, will have a deterrent effect on any attackers. A NATO exercise can in many ways be compared to a fire prevention exercise. The few of us experience a fire close up during life, but if the worst happens, it’s a good idea to have tested all the routines in advance.

Trident Juncture is the fire preparation exercise of the Armed Forces. Here we shall practice receiving soldiers and equipment from all over NATO. And with 30 other countries, we will try to defend our country by any attack.

Why does Norway need a new fighter?

Fighter aircraft are one of the most important capabilities in a modern and efficient defense, and F-35 is the world’s best combat aircraft.

F-35 can defeat other aircraft and targets on the ground and the sea. In addition, combat aircraft operate electronic warfare and provide their own forces at sea and land with valuable information. The aircraft’s ability to collect information also becomes crucial for Norway’s role as NATO’s eyes and ears in the north.

Why does Norway need a new submarine?

Norway has the second longest coastline in the world and rages across major ocean areas in the north. So we have a lot of sea to watch.

Submarines can operate hidden over large areas for a long time and they have great impact. This means that an opponent must spend a lot of time and effort to safeguard our submarines.

The Government has therefore decided that Norway will buy four new submarines to help ensure Norway’s maritime interests and its own borders.

Why are many any of our best young people being sent out in the woods or into the mountains for a whole year?

In Norway, we have universal service, which means that women and men have the same duty and the right to serve our country. The duty of consecration ensures that Norway has a solid defense at all times, consisting of our most suitable people.

We want as many as possible to be motivated to do something for their country and to serve in the Armed Forces.

It is a duty, but also an outstanding opportunity for you.

What do we want to happen?


Absolutely nothing.

We would like to acknowledge a Danish colleague who pointed out this video to us during a recent visit to Denmark, namely, Captain Simon Throso “SON” Pedersen.

And the Second Line of Defense team might add the following to highlight a key aspect of why Norway and the Nordics are modernizing their forces as well:

And for recent Dutch videos with a direct message as well about the new strategic environment, see the following:

The Role of the Dutch Navy

The Dutch Re-Focus on National Defense



Trident Juncture 2018: The Marines and the Initial Phase

Around 90 US Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit landed at Keflavík on Wednesday (17 October 2018), marking the initial phase of NATO’s Exercise Trident Juncture 2018 in Iceland.

The main phase of Trident Juncture will start in Norway on October 25. Arriving by MV-22 Osprey and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters from the USS Iwo Jima, the Marines practised securing the airfield and key infrastructure, in cooperation with the Icelandic Police.

The US Navy has also deployed two cutting-edge P-8A Poseidon aircraft to Keflavík from their current home in Sigonella, Italy.

In remarks at the Vardberg Association on Tuesday, Admiral James G. Foggo, Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, as well as US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, highlighted the P-8A’s key role in anti-submarine operations. He stressed the aircraft’s world-class surveillance and intelligence capabilities, which are important for NATO in the North Atlantic. 

Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson and Admiral Foggo showcased Iceland’s vital role in the NATO Alliance.

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating the Battle of the Atlantic aboard the Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel THOR, Minister Thordarson highlighted the “crucial” importance of “unimpeded shipping routes over the Atlantic”. Admiral Foggo also noted Iceland’s strategic location, and thanked the country for an “unwavering commitment” to its Allies. 

Trident Juncture 2018 is NATO’s largest exercise in many years, bringing together around 50,000 personnel from all 29 Allies, plus partners Finland and Sweden. Around 65 vessels, 150 aircraft and 10,000 vehicles will participate.

The featured photo shows a USMC Osprey landing at Keflavik with a Canadian c-17 on the tarmac.

During a visit to Norway earlier this year, in our interview with a senior Norwegian military officer involved in shaping the exercise, the focus of the Norwegian effort was highlighted. That interview published in May 2018 follows:

Seen from a Nordic perspective, the exercise is coming at a time when Norway is modernizing its defense force, working ever more closely with the other Nordics, including cross-border training with Sweden and Finland, and re-invigorating its total defense approach.

Indeed, with the return of conscription in Sweden, with the continued commitment to a national mobilized armed forces in Finland and to a re-emphasis on the total defense concept, the Nordics are leading the way within Europe on a wider societal commitment to defense.

With the importance of crisis management in the region, an ability to work effectively with allied forces operating on NATO territory supported by a total defense approach within Norway, is part of the effort to calibrate force capabilities appropriate to deal with regional crises.

As Norway reworks its air basing structure, and modernizes its air force, army and navy, along with changes in the broader North Atlantic, working deterrence in depth is underway as well.

For example, the UK will add a new F-35-enabled carrier able to operate in the region as a mobile base able to work with other F-35s in the region to shape a wider combat grid to support moves on the strategic and tactical chessboard necessary to deal with regional crises.

But to shape such capabilities will require an effective exercise regime, one in which Norway works to support allied forces appropriate to meeting effectively specific regional crisis situations.

It is not just about being reassured by importing allied capability, more generally; it is about integrating Norwegian with appropriate allied forces to meet specific crisis management challenges and military threats in the region.

Col Lars Lervik at the Norwegian Ministry of Defence is working the preparation for the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise and according to him:

“A key focus of the exercise from the NATO side is exercising our ability to conduct high intensity operations in a multi-national environment.

“What we’re looking at here is confronting an opponent who has the whole arsenal available.

“We need to be able to function not only as individuals and individual nations, but actually function together.

“This is a key focus of the exercise.”

Trident Juncture 2018 is also a command post exercise as well and given that Norway is reworking its C2 capabilities as part of defense modernization, the exercise provides an opportunity to input multinational operational training as well into the transformation process.

Col Lars Lervik highlighted that “It is very important to ensure that we have the procedures in place necessary to operate an integrated force on Norwegian territory in a higher intensity operational environment.

“We are starting really to be serious about C2 again.

“We are working to shape an effective C2 template going forward.

“We need to make sure that all our structures are integratable with NATO.”

“It is not a coincidence that Norway volunteered to be the host for this exercise.

“We’ve been focused on getting NATO to focus back on collective defense for quite a while.”

The Norwegians are working at three levels with regard to C2.

The first is at the national level.

The second is at the NATO level.

The third is at the bilateral C2 level, namely working with the US, the UK, the Nordic non-NATO members as well as other NATO members, such as Germany.

There is a substantial maritime component within the exercise, which gets at the broader extended deterrence piece whereby the sea base becomes integrated into the defense of Norway and NATO forces operating on Norwegian territory as well.

Col Lars Lervik underscored that “Working with allied forces is also about the capability of Norway able to receive NATO and allied reinforcements.

“And that’s when a total defense concept comes into play for us to be able to fulfill our host nation support commitments.”

For Norway, the total defense concept is a focus on the ability of the civilian side of society to support military operations. 

For example, the Norwegians do not have a specialized military medical service. The civilian side is mobilized to support both Norwegian and allied medical needs in times of conflict.  This will be exercised during Trident Juncture 2018.

Col Lars Lervik emphasized that “We need to be able to support NATO allies when they come into Norway.

“I think we’re making real progress with regard to civil society’s ability to support the Norwegian and allied militaries.

“For example, when the US Marines arrive in Undredal, Norway (in the middle of Norway), it could be a civilian bus driver on a civilian bus who will transport them onward to their next location. They might pick up fuel from a local civilian Norwegian logistics company.

“It is about the resilience as well with regard to civilian society to support military operations.

“We need to understand and to enhance how the modern society is able to function in a time of crises and war.”


Disaggregated Globalization: The Next Phase of Global Development

by Kenneth Maxwell

Dante’s “Inferno”, the 14th century epic poem, where Hell is nine concentric circles of torment located within the earth.

It is the most appropriate analogy for the seriousness of the national dilemmas and the international challenges that confront us

To start at the outer circle of Dante’s hell: The threat of global disorder

It is clear that the post WW2, but more importantly, that the post-cold war global order is unravelling.

The tectonic plates are shifting.

This is occurring both in geopolitics and in global financial markets. We do not see clearly yet how the new balance of global military, economic, and political power, will be configured.

But a reconfiguration in clearly underway.

We also know that it is such moments of fundamental chance that miscalculations and accidents can happen: 1914 with the outbreak of WW1; 1929 with the Wall Street Crash and the beginning of the Great Depression; 1939 with the outbreak of WW2;  2008 with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the global financial crisis that followed.

It is not just a question of the balance of military power.

The US is the major global power in terms of its global reach, the scale of its alliances, its military expenditures, and the size and sophistication of its armed forces.

But the US has suffered from a series of disastrous military overseas interventions.

The lessons of the Vietnam war debacle were never learnt: The  Post 9/11 “war on terror” has aggravated the situation and with disastrous consequences: In Afghanistan, that once and everlasting graveyard of empires. In Iraq with continuing post-invasion chaos. In Libya lost in endless deadly squabbles between militias and chronic instability.

It has been an endless “Tar Baby” syndrome for the United States.

China and Russia have reemerged since the end of the cold war as global competitors.

Russia under Vladimir Putin with an aggressive mixture of overt and clandestine military intervention in the Ukraine and Georgia and Syria, with cyberwars and Mafiosi style extraterritorial killings of perceived enemies and overt as well as clandestine political interference.

China with its economic growth, modernization, and heavy investment in military hardware and cyber capacity, as well as it’s overseas investments in infrastructure and commercial penetration, especially in the South China Sea, as well as in Africa and in Brazil and in eastern Europe.

The economic challenges of global disorder are also again on the horizon. It is ten years since the financial crisis produced the greatest shock to capitalism since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The system survived.

But at the cost of the massive printing of money by central banks, of “quantitative easing” and bank bailouts, and of the imposition of long-term austerity policies and severe cutbacks in public services, which has eroded the welfare state within many of the advanced western democracies.

Yet those at the top of the wealth pyramid did not suffer after the financial crisis.

No bankers went to jail. The average taxpayer footed the bill. Income inequality became worse. The rise of populism and Brexit and Trump are a direct consequence.

New trade wars and protectionism, and trade conflict between the World’s two largest economies, the US and China, are only just beginning, as are renewed financial pressures on countries from Argentina to Pakistan, as well as within Europe, on Italy and potentially in the aftermath of a disorderly Brexit on the UK.

These conditions, however, are not limited to the US and to the English-speaking world.

But they have weakened the commitment of both of the US to global institutions.

For the US, this is by design under President Donald Trump.

Within the UK it is the result of domestic divisions and political conflicts over Brexit.

The US, and the English-Speaking World more generally, have been guarantors of the global order since WW2, as they have also have been the guarantor’s of the international organizations which emerged in the immediate post-war WW2 period.

But all these are now under challenge from the US, the progenitor of them in the first place: The IMF, the World Bank. and the WTO (the world trade organization) to name only the most prominent examples.

After the 1990s the European nations which had been dominated by the Soviet Union after WW2, were all after the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, rapidly incorporated into the EU and into NATO.

This followed the successful incorporation into the western European democratic mainstream of post-dictatorship Portugal, Spain and Greece in the late 1970s and 1980s.

At first this expansion to the EU and of NATO went well.

But the “democratic deficit” of the perceived interference of the EU bureaucracy in Brussels in national concerns at the grass roots level, and the even more distant European parliament in Strasburg, provoked negative reactions in many EU member states.

It is not only in Britain that reaction set in.

Italy has seen the rise of a populist nationalist rightwing parties. And it is also in precisely those regions which have recently been incorporated into the EU, including the area of the old “East Germany” were rightwing nationalists has been most active, and for many of the same reasons that the depressed and abandoned post-industrialized regions of the upper mid-west in the US support Trump, and the devastated old post-industrial regions within the UK voted for Brexit.

Trump is blamed for much of this.

But the issue is much bigger than Trump.

Trump is after all a man in his early 70s. He goes back to the epoch of the Vietnam War (which is a real war he avoided unlike many young men of his generation who had no choice and did not possess doctors to vouch they had medical conditions which prevented them serving when drafted).

Trump has long been an outsider to the US establishment. He has long had questionable relationships. His long-term mentor in New York City was the notorious Roy Cohn, formally the chief consul to senator Joseph McCarthy in his anti-communist witch-hunts in Washington DC. Trump has long been a favorite subject for New York’s tabloid press, with his marriage sagas, and his chronic misbehavior towards women.

But none of this is news, and none of this is (or should) be a surprise to anyone.

But as the President of the United States Donald Trump has been the “disrupter” in chief.

The arrival of Trump is no accident.

He represents the revival of a deeply populist, anti-global, resentful, anti-intellectual, isolationist tradition in American politics. The “paranoid style” the historian Richard Hofstadter once called it. Trump’s populism has deep roots in American nationalism.

Trump did not invent the idea of “America First.”

He only revived it.

It is not that dangers to the international system have not existed since the end of WW2.

They have.

Overwhelmingly, the greatest danger has been the risk of nuclear war. This has not happened,

But nuclear proliferation has happened and into regions of great potential instability: To Korea obviously, but also previously to India and Pakistan, and potentially to Iran.

Digital Globalization has also accelerated. The rise of mega-global companies based on the exponential expansion of digitalized information technology: Facebook, Amazon, Google, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram.

Their impact reaches down to the ground level globally, and in the most remarkable manner information technology and the Internet has provided platforms for information sharing, but also the means for political manipulation, and via the dark web for international crime networks for narcotics trafficking and sex.

The Russians and the Chinese and the North Koreans have all discovered how effectively these platforms can be manipulated, as of course have the denizens of Cambridge Analytica. And many of these techniques have long been used by US and western intelligence Agencies. There is no-one, for instance, caught up in, or engaged in, the Syrian civil war, who is not without an iPhone.

Migration, legal and illegal, documented or undocumented, has helped revive anti-globalist nativism in Europe and in the US. As it also has in Australia, and in South America, which is also facing the massive outflow of desperate people from Venezuela into Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and into Brazil.

It is not a pretty picture and certainly not one which looks like the recent past. 

The behavior of nation states and their agents, the use of chemical weapons, and the ruthless extraterritorial murder of their opponents within the tense and changing and challenging international environment is a threat to us all.

For many policy intellectuals, there are just waiting until Trump goes away and hope for the policy or intellectual equivalent to a 21st century version of the Congress of Vienna.

But that is not going to happen.

The post-post-Cold War and with it the kind of globalization of the past twenty years are over.

We need to take a hard look at the world we have and is unfolding; not the one we have lost.

Global cross learning and interactivity will remain high but disaggregation in a globally interactive context is accelerating.

The featured photos shows Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holding a judo training session at the Top Athletic School during his working visit to St Petersburg, on December 18, 2009. Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images

Shaping Direct Defense of Northern Europe: 21st Century Challenges and Solutions


By Robbin Laird

A recent conference sponsored by our partner Risk Intelligence and hosted by the Atlantic Danish Atlantic Treaty Organization focused on “Threat Perception 2018: The Northern European Perspective.”

Programme – Threat Perception

In effect, the focus of the conference was the nature of the challenges and ways ahead to provide for direct defense of the region against the Russian state.

After the conference, I had a chance to talk with the head of Risk Intelligence, Hans Tino Hansen, and to get his perspectives on the conference and the challenges and ways ahead facing the region.

We started with regard to how best to characterize the challenge.

The head of Risk Intelligence underscored that we need to state clearly what the nature of the challenge posed by a Russia or China actually is and to make sure that we do not fall into Cold War thinking and blur the distinctions between the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, on the one hand, with today’s Russia, on the other.

While we should take the threat seriously, we should not at the same time adapt countermeasures that do not fit the present situation.

“Russia is a major regional power; it is not a global superpower, and does not have the means to impact military, politically and economically globally.”

He then argued that we need as well to focus on the shift in strategic geography.

While the Warsaw Pact surrounded the Northern Tier of NATO, the expanded geography with the emergence of the Arctic region and the expansion of Russian capabilities in the region are the focal point.

“We need to look at the Arctic Northern European area, Baltic area, as one.

“We need to connect the dots from Greenland to Poland or Lithuania and everything in between.

“We need to look at the area as an integrated geography, which we didn’t do during the Cold War.

“In the Cold War, we were also used to the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact being able to actually attack on all fronts at the same time, which the Russians wouldn’t today because they are not the power that they used to be.

“And clearly we need to look beyond the defense of the Baltic region to get the bigger connectivity picture.”

“NATO is also not what it used to be as well.

“We clearly need to rethink and rebuild infrastructure and forces to deal with the strategic geography which now defines the Russian challenge and the capabilities they have within that geography to threaten our interests and our forces.”

“We need to evaluate the threats across a spectrum of conflict, that is also what is so different today compared to the Cold War.

“We clearly need to enhance our force structure to be able to do classic direct defense as this is key to credible deterrence.

“But now we face a range of threats in the so-called gray area which define key aspects of the spectrum of conflict which need to be dealt with or deterred.”

We then discussed the key challenge of reshaping civil structures that actually can address crisis management of the sort necessary to deal with the wider spectrum of Russian tools as well.

For this we need a system of crisis identification and to establish robust procedures for crisis management.

“A crisis can be different levels.

“It can be local, it can be regional, it can be global and it might even be in the cyber domain and independent of geography.

“And, we need to make sure that the politicians are not only able to deal with the global ones but can actually also react to something lesser.

“Who knows when a crisis is a crisis?

“Is it when X amount of infrastructure has been attacked by cyber-attacks?

“Is it when X amount of public utilities have been disrupted and for how long that defines the nature of a crisis?

“This certainly calls for systems and sensors/analysis to identify when an incident, or a series of incidents, amount to a crisis”.

“Ultimately, that means that the politicians need to be also trained in the procedures necessary in a crisis similar to what we did in the WINTEX exercises during the old days during the Cold War where they learned to operate and identify and make decisions in such a challenging environment”.

We focused finally on the importance of building robust infrastructure as part of the direct defense challenge which a Russia armed with a range of new tools to attack Danish and Northern European civilian infrastructure as a prelude to or the key focus of a direct military threat.

“The final deterrence is nuclear. But if we move one step prior to that, then we’re talking about direct defense.

“That encompasses defense of geographical areas, defense of sea lanes of communication, defense of the logistics chains that connect the NATO countries.

“But direct also encompasses the defense of the industries of the NATO countries.

“That is just as important.

“And deterrence has to be credible in the eyes of the adversary.

“We need to study, and to understand what would be credible to the Russian leadership in terms of our responses and our capabilities.

“It boils down to determining what are the nature of the crises with which we need to deal with a force on force confrontation and how to prevail in such crises.

“And to do so with an understanding of the expanded notion of direct defense.”

The featured photo is of the head of Risk Intelligence and of the Atlantic Danish Atlantic Treaty Organization after the conference.

Also, see the following article:

The Return of Direct Defense In Northern Europe

















The Way Ahead in Shipbuilding: The Perspective of Admiral (Retired) Nils Wang


By Robbin Laird

During my current visit to Denmark, I have a chance to meet with Admiral (Retired) Nils Wang, a dialogue partner for several years in my visits to the country.

He has provided the readers of Second Line of Defense with many key insights not only with regard to Denmark and Nordic Security but more broadly with regard to the changing strategic geography in the region (the addition of the Arctic) and with regard to calibrating our understanding of the nature of the 21st century Russian challenge, rather than staying rooted in past understandings of the Cold War.

With regard to this last point, a key challenge facing many in the West is simply writing in Russia for the Soviet Union.  With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, Russia does not surround Northern Europe as it once did.

Russia has changed its approach and means to pressure the region, which means in part the challenge of direct defense also has changed.

One aspect of change with the strategic shift to having to deal with force on force threats from competitors like Russia and China is the question of the ability not only to defend infrastructure but to find ways to build larger number of assets costs effectively.

And let us be clear – the methods of building smaller numbers of platforms at higher cost and slowly is not going to make it with the prospects of facing force attrition in force on force engagements.

One sector that needs clear change is in shipbuilding.

Notably, modularity provides a way to do this as both the UK has shown in building their carriers and the Danes in building their frigates,

Now in the case of the two, approaches are merging as a new build approach for a new class of UK frigates is being offered by the Danes as part of a UK industrial consortium.

Admiral (Retired) Wang spoke to these issues during our recent meeting in his office where he has a new position, namely, managing director of Naval Team Denmark. The organization was established in 1995 to support the export potential of the Danish Naval Industry.  The organization stems from the build of the modern Danish Navy, built around its revolutionary Flex Ships Concept.

The core concept of modularity as practiced by Danish industry is to build in ways to modernize the ship over time.

The Danes invented LEGO and have applied it to shipbuilding.

According to Nils Wang there are two types of modularity in the Danish ships.

“The first type is modularity provided by the digital shipbuilding process.

“You can actually construct the ship by building it in different places, and then get the modules together, weld them together, and then you have a ship.

“The ship was built on the old Maersk-Line shipyard here in Denmark before it closed.

“The last thing that they did on that shipyard was building the three frigates for the Danish Navy, and the way of thinking about ship construction came from their experience in building large container ships in great numbers.

“This also affected the degree of automation in the new combatants. If you’re building a 350 meter container ship that should be run by eleven people, you have to think about how to monitor doors, windows, valves and hatches automatically.

“Here you find one of the keys to the 110 crew basis manning of new Danish frigates and Danish flexible support ships..”

But there is a second meaning to modularity with regard to how the Danes approached building their frigates.

“The second meaning of modularity refers to the built-in enablement of cost-effective modernization. The ship is built with standard modules for weapons.

“The whole idea of having your weaponry containerized provides you with a tactical flexibility where you can change a broken gun within hours but also an operational flexibility where you within a day or two can fit your ships for the mission and give it the weaponry that is dictated by the situation”.

“This provides you with a strategic flexibility where you can transfer an important part of your investments in modern updated weaponry from your old decommissioned platforms to the new platforms through the modular inserts.

“It is plug-and-play approach to upgrading weapons.”

We then discussed the impact of ship numbers.

Modular shipbuilding can allow a quicker buildup of ships as naval forces face attrition in force on force conflicts.

“Not having an ability to replace ships rapidly might be something that you can live with if it’s an asymmetric warfare, if you’re going on patrols once in a while.

“But if you’re preparing for a conflict with a peer adversary, you also have to think about attrition. You need to both fulfill your quality ambitions, but you also need to fulfill your quantity ambitions. You are not going to get the numbers of you need if you take the slow road to builds and upgrades.

“Modular shipbuilding in the two senses I have suggested allow you to do both, more rapid builds and more rapid upgrade as well a swap out of weapon systems in times of crisis as well.”

I noted that the new ships in the Danish Navy are much larger than the US Navy’s LCS which allows more flexibility as well for ongoing upgrades as well.

“Big ships are easier to maintain than small ships, and by the way big ships are often cheaper to construct and to refit than small ships because the work space become very congested onboard”.

“When you are building a ship, you are building a weapons platform that will last for more than 30 years. So a wide beam spacious frigate like a 6.600 tonnes Iver Huitfeldt class provides you with modernization potential.

“For example, in addition to the 5 build-in positions for weapon containers we built in the Mach 41 launcher from the very beginning, even though we knew we couldn’t afford to put any weapons in it from the beginning.

“We just wanted it to be there because we never knew what the future would bring.

“Now the recent defense agreement actually stipulates that we will order SM2 , allowing Denmark to provide Area Air Defence in the Baltic and we can install these standard missiles from almost one day to the other because the infrastructure is already there.

“Later we will acquire SM6 and possibly even Tomahawk Strike Missiles, options available 10 years inside the frigates life cycle due to lots of space and  a flexible ship infrastructure.”

We then turned to the offering which the Danes are participating in with regard to a new build frigate for the Royal Navy.

“The candidate in the Type 31 competition in the UK, the Arrowhead 140, is a copy more of less of the Iver Huitfeldt class, the Danish frigate, and it’s a consortium consisting OMT, the Odense Maritime Technology, that is the design company that designed the Iver Huitfeldt class, Babcock and Thales as well as other UK firms.

“The approach is modular which allows different parts of the UK to build the modules.

“We did this with our own frigates, and clearly this can be utilized in the Arrowhead 140 project.

“This is important for today’s UK for sure.

“One can actually create jobs in different parts of the country using this method, and nowadays that is a big thing.

“Maintaining a shipbuilding industry and the related blue collar workspaces is a political priority in many countries.

“Spreading the work load to several constituencies allowing everybody a part of the cake, is obviously an attractive ship building approach.

“With the Arrowhead 140, the British also would buy a proven design and build approach. It is a fixed price tender, so you will have to stay within the budget.

“That is exactly the same way as we build our ships. It is what we call “design to cost,” so if steel prices suddenly increase during the building process, the shipyard and the Navy together have to find solutions to actually reduce costs in other areas of the ship construction so that the budget would not be exceeded.

“The ship itself is a proven concept because the Iver Huitfeldt class has been on several real-world deployments. It was participating in moving chemicals out of Syria. It has been participating in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and been NATO Flag Ship in the Baltic.

“It has been an integrated part of a United States Carrier Battle Group and next year it will integrate in a French Carrier Group.

“Also, it has been tested several times at Flag Officer Sea Training in the UK, so the ship has shown it’s worth there as well”.

“But as importantly the construction method of keeping the building process to budget is proven as well. I think the Arrrowhead 140 would be a low-risk option given our experience in Denmark with our version of the frigate.”

The featured photo:


An MH-60S Sea Hawk attached to the “Tridents” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 lifts cargo from the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) during a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) with the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) as the Danish frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362) approaches.

The George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Gaines/Released)







Japan and Australia: Working Their Strategic Dynamic


We consider the evolution of the Australian-Japanese relationship as one of the most critical ones which can affect the reshaping of deterrent capabilities and relations in the Pacific.

Both countries are pushing out their defense perimeters to deal with the expanded reach of the Chinese.  Both are introducing new capabilities, but the Australians are focused much more than Japan on integrated force design and implementation.

Japan clearly needs to learn how to do this and Australia could well be a key partner in that learning process.

And both wish to enhance their sovereign defense industrial capabilities to build relevant 21st century defense and security capabilities.

And although the first effort to breakthrough on this dimension failed, namely with regard to the new build submarine, this area is a key work in progress.

Recently, we argued that if the French-Australian submarine agreement failed to be implemented by the current government, the new Australian government might reconsider their working relationship with Japan in this area.

“If the French government wants to complete their clear opportunity working with Australia, it would be wise for Paris to take a hard look at the changing dynamics in the Asian Pacific and the emerging ambitions of Australia to be a major player militarily and industrially.

“The Abe government in Japan is currently rethinking not only its security role in partnership with the US, but its underlying industrial support capabilities which could be applied more effectively in joint projects with Australia and the US.

“Japanese economic relations with Australia, long based on trade and direct investment, are now in a new stage where co-development of new military hardware and software would be in the mutual interests of both nations.

“That would also put Australia on the forefront of the global industrial development map, rather simply fork-lifting platforms built elsewhere into Australia.”

Recently, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, and the Australian Minister for Defence, Mr Christopher Pyne, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Taro Kono, and the Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr Takeshi Iwaya, met in Sydney on 10 October 2018 for the Eighth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations.

An article in The Japan Times noted that the status of forces agreement between Australia and Japan was making progress.

In regard to concluding a security agreement, since the 2014 launch of negotiations on what is known as a visiting forces agreement, Japan and Australia have pledged an early conclusion of the talks numerous times.

If realized, it would be the first such agreement for Tokyo after the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, which details the legal status of U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan.

Japan views Australia as a “quasi-ally” and “special strategic partner,” and is considering that strengthening their relationship in the field of security is becoming more important to promote Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy….”

Payne disclosed that the Japanese prime minister will visit the northern Australian city of Darwin in November to hold a high-level bilateral economic dialogue…..

The featured photo shows Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne laying wreaths at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney during the Japanese visit to Sydney. Credit PhotoL AP


Eighth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations

Joint statement

10 October 2018

  1. The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, and the Australian Minister for Defence, Mr Christopher Pyne, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr Taro Kono, and the Minister of Defense of Japan, Mr Takeshi Iwaya, met in Sydney on 10 October 2018 for the Eighth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations.
  2. The Ministers welcomed the closer engagement between Australia and Japan since the Seventh 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations, including visits to Japan by the Australian Prime Minister and by the Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister in January and July 2018 respectively. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further deepening the Special Strategic Partnership between the two countries, founded on common strategic interests and shared values including a commitment to democracy, human rights, free trade and the rules-based international order.


  1. The Ministers reaffirmed that Australia and Japan shared elements of their strategic visions for the Indo-Pacific region. They reiterated their determination to work proactively together, and together with the United States and other partners in order to maintain and promote a free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region founded on the rules-based international order.
  2. The Ministers recognised the importance of a stable and secure regional maritime order, including through enhanced maritime security cooperation. They reaffirmed their commitment to further enhancing bilateral and Japan-Australia-United States trilateral maritime security cooperation, in particular capacity building in the field of maritime law enforcement and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Southeast Asia as well as Pacific Island Countries through close consultation with those countries.
  3. The Ministers highlighted the importance of enhancing connectivity in this region for economic prosperity through the development of quality infrastructure in accordance with international standards that are open, transparent, non-exclusive and sustainable, and which promotes fair and open competition and meets genuine needs. They affirmed commitment to advancing this agenda bilaterally and through the Japan-Australia-United States trilateral partnership for infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific region. The Ministers also shared the importance of debt sustainability, including debt transparency, for sustainable development and sovereignty, and reiterated their concern about increases in foreign debt. In this regard, the Ministers called for a wider adherence to and respect for international standards in this area.
  4. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to pursue deeper and broader defence cooperation, including exercises, operations, capacity building, enhanced navy, army, and air force engagement activities and strategic visits, trilateral cooperation with the United States, and further cooperation on defence equipment, science and technology. They identified a suite of new initiatives to further enhance bilateral defence engagement. These initiatives cover a commitment to increasing the complexity and sophistication of military exercises, focusing on deepening mutual understanding of operational planning and enhancing interoperability between our defence forces. The Ministers determined to explore opportunities to conduct broader areas of bilateral/multilateral training and exercises involving the Australian Defence Force and Japan Self-Defense Forces, including in areas such as disaster response, anti-submarine warfare, and mine counter measures. The Ministers also  affirmed the commitment to pursuing the rescheduling of the first-ever fighter jet exercise “BUSHIDO GUARDIAN” to an appropriate time in 2019, and to seeking an opportunity for bilateral or multilateral training or exercises in Australia involving the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
  5. The Ministers welcomed the recent progress in the negotiations on the Reciprocal Access Agreement, which will reciprocally improve administrative, policy, and legal procedures to facilitate joint operations and exercises. The Ministers reaffirmed strong commitment to conclude the negotiations as early as feasible.
  6. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of their respective alliances with the United States, which are fundamental to each country’s security and underpin broader regional stability and prosperity. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific and the implementation of the Force Posture Initiatives. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to further enhancing trilateral cooperation, including through the Trilateral Summit Meeting, Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and Trilateral Defence Ministers’ Meeting to ensure the peaceful, stable and prosperous future of the Indo-Pacific region.
  7. The Ministers reaffirmed their intention to further develop trilateral cooperation and coordination among Japan, Australia and India. They also welcomed the progress in cooperation among Japan, Australia, India and the United States.

(Regional and International issues)

  1. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of the international community for North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as well as ballistic missiles in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). They welcomed the ongoing diplomatic engagements including those between North Korea and each of the Republic of Korea and the United States, as steps toward the comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues regarding North Korea. They also expressed support for efforts by the United States towards the denuclearisation of North Korea in compliance with the relevant UNSCRs.
  2. The Ministers reconfirmed that it is critical for all United Nations Member States to continue to implement their obligations fully under relevant UNSCRs. They reaffirmed their commitment to cooperating to that end, including through surveillance of suspicious maritime activities including illicit ship-to-ship transfers involving North Korean-flagged vessels. The Ministers of Japan welcomed Australia’s deployment of maritime patrol aircraft to that end. The Ministers agreed that the cap on the importation of refined petroleum products for 2018 imposed by UNSCR 2397 (2017) had been breached. They called on North Korea to end its human rights violations and immediately resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
  3. The Ministers remained seriously concerned about the situation in the South China Sea (SCS).  They reaffirmed the importance of upholding the rules-based regional and international order, respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded trade. The Ministers also expressed their opposition to the use of disputed features for military purposes, urging all parties to pursue the demilitarisation of such features. They emphasised the importance of self-restraint and their opposition to any actions that could escalate tensions in the region. They urged relevant states to make and clarify territorial and maritime claims based on international law and to resolve disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Ministers acknowledged the recent movement towards a Code of Conduct (COC) for the SCS and supported the conclusion of negotiations for an effective COC. They called for the COC to be: consistent with existing international law, as reflected in UNCLOS; not to prejudice the interests of the non-parties to the COC or the rights of all states under international law; to reinforce existing regional architecture; and to strengthen Parties’ commitments to cease actions that would complicate or escalate disputes.
  4. The Ministers shared the intention to remain in close communication about the situation in the East China Sea and expressed opposition to any coercive unilateral actions that seek to alter the status quo or increase tensions in the area.
  5. The Ministers resolved to further enhance their engagement with ASEAN and noted the achievements of ASEAN in fostering peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.  They reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN centrality and unity and acknowledged the role of ASEAN as the convener of the regional security architecture. The Ministers underlined the value of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as the regions’ premier leaders-led forum for addressing political-security challenges. The Ministers also welcomed the continued contributions of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-plus).
  6. The Ministers expressed their commitment to enhancing cooperation between Australia and Japan to support economic and social resilience, stability and prosperity in the Pacific, in close consultation with the Pacific Island Countries. They welcomed the success of the Eighth Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM8) held in May 2018 and Japan’s commitment to the region announced there. The Ministers of Japan welcomed Australia’s enhanced engagement in the Pacific in line with its 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.
  7. The Ministers reasserted the importance of a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with China through dialogue, cooperation and engagement.
  8. The Ministers stressed the importance of a free and open, rules-based trading system for global stability and prosperity. In this regard, they shared the determination to coordinate closely and exercise leadership towards an early entry into force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and swift conclusion of a high-quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that would promote closer regional economic integration. The Ministers recognised the importance of working together to improve the functioning of the World Trade Organization so that it can address the challenges facing the multilateral trading system and benefit individuals and businesses throughout the region and the world. The Ministers reaffirmed support for global trade liberalisation and their commitment to resisting protectionism, including all unfair trade practices.
  9. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, fair and secure cyberspace and to further strengthening cooperation in this area.
  10. The Ministers underlined the crucial importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the success of the 2020 NPT Review Conference. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperation towards a world free of nuclear weapons, through efforts on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy including through the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI). The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to keep urging all States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) without further delay towards its early entry into force and universalisation, in particular the remaining eight Annex 2 states, and including North Korea as a matter of priority. The Ministers also reiterated the importance of reinforcement of the CTBT’s verification regime.
  11. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to further cooperate in areas such as counter-terrorism.




The Return of Direct Defense In Northern Europe


By Robbin Laird

October 11, 2018, the Danish Atlantic Treaty organization hosted a conference sponsored by our partner Risk Intelligence entitled, “Threat Perception 2018: The Northern European Perspective.”

The hosts will provide a full report of the proceedings of the day.

The conference provided a detailed look at the presentations and the arguments made during the day.  The seminar was opened by a presentation by the Danish Defense Minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, which framed the day and posed some of the initial questions to be considered.

Programme – Threat Perception

In effect, the Danes like the other Nordics, are having to focus on direct defense as their core national mission, within an alliance context.

This will mean as well a shift common to other alliance members from a focus on out of area operations, such as in Afghanistan, back to the core challenge, namely, the defense of the homeland.

The Danes are raising their investment in defense and there is growing public support in Denmark for such a course of action.

Russian actions starting in Georgia in 2008 and then in the Crimea in 2014 have created a significant environment of uncertainty for European nations, one in which the refocus on direct defense is required.

Denmark is not only earmarking new funds for defense, but buying new capabilities as well, such as the F-35.

And they are reworking their national command systems as well as working with Nordic allies and other NATO partners on more effective ways to operate to augment defensive force capabilities in a crisis.

It was very clear from the day’s discussions that the return of direct defense is not really about a return to the Cold War and the Soviet-Western conflict.

Direct defense has changed as the tools available to the Russians have changed, notably with an ability to leverage cyber tools to leverage Western digital society to be able to achieve military and political objectives with means other than direct use of lethal force.

This is why the West needs to shape new approaches and evolve thinking about crisis management in the digital age.

It means that NATO countries need to work as hard at infrastructure defense in the digital age as they have been working on terrorism since September 11th.

New paradigms, new tools, new training and new thinking is required to shape various ways ahead to shape a more robust infrastructure notably in a digital age.

Article III within the NATO treaty underscores the importance of each state focusing resources on the defense of its nation.

In the world we are facing now, this may well mean much more attention to security of supply chains, robust infrastructure defense and taking a hard look at the vulnerabilities which globalization has introduced within NATO nations.

Put in other terms, robustness in infrastructure can provide a key element of defense in dealing with 21stcentury adversaries, as important as the build up of classic lethal capabilities.

The return of direct defense but with the challenge of shaping more robust national and coalition infrastructure also means that the classic distinction between counter-value and counter-force targeting is changing.

Eroding infrastructure with non-lethal means is as much counter-force as it is counter-value.

We need to find new vocabulary as well to describe the various routes to enhanced direct defense for core NATO nations.

Virtually every national representative provided example of Russian cyber trolling and cyber-attacks which have affected their countries.

It is also clear that a new strategic geography is emerging in which North America, the Arctic and Northern Europe are contiguous operational territory targeted by the Russians and the NATO states need to focus on ways to enhance their capabilities to operate seamlessly in a timely manner across this entire chessboard.

The Nordics have clearly enhanced their cooperation and with Poland and the Baltic states as well in an effort to shape more interactive capability across a common but changing strategic geography.

It is changing as the Russians evolve the reach and lethality of their air and maritime strike capabilities.

An example of a very different dynamic associated with direct defense this time around is how to shape a flexible basing structure.

What does basing in this environment mean?

How can allies leverage national basing with the very flexible force packages which will be needed at the point of defense or attack to resolve a crisis?

The Poles recently offered to invest in a US/NATO base which unfortunately the US Secretary of the Army decided was not a good idea.

Perhaps to put US Army capabilities into Poland is not a good idea; but this has little to do with the general challenge of crafting a new basing approach for the Northern European-North Atlantic-Arctic chessboard.

Indeed, the Polish Ambassador to Denmark drove home the point of how important a permanent presence was to the Poles and that they were very open to what this might actually look like.

In short, this is not a new Cold War.

There is a return to direct defense as the primary task for the Northern European nations, rather than out of area activities.

But now the very tasks which direct defense need to deal with have changed, expanded and mutated.

This Danish conference provided an important opportunity for the participants to discuss the challenges and the way ahead.

The featured photo is of the Danish Defense Minister and Secretary General of the Danish Atlantic Treaty Association, Lars Bangert Struwe.







UK Prepares for new ASW Frigate


The UK is in the process of developing and then building a new anti-submarine frigate.  And the UK received the good news earlier this year that their new ship would be adopted as well by the Royal Australian Navy which would increase significantly the build of the new type of ship.

In fact, the Aussies would actually buy more of the new ship than would the Royal Navy!

And recently, the UK Minister of Defence visited Portsmouth to announce the coming of the new warship to their port.

The eight Type 26 warships will start being delivered to the Royal Navy from the mid-2020s, heralding yet another new era in the role of a base which has played a central role in the defence of the UK for hundreds of years – from the Napoleonic wars to the Falklands Conflict.

The 6,900-tonne frigates will be world-class anti-submarine warships and will provide cutting-edge protection for the likes of the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, with the ability to conduct a whole range of other operations anywhere in the world.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The largest Naval Base in western Europe, Devonport is the lifeblood of Plymouth and is as synonymous with this city as it is with our famous Royal Navy.

“Ships have set sail from Devonport’s dock to defend our great nation for hundreds of years, and I can reveal that the truly world-class Type 26 frigates will follow in their wake.

“We are living in increasingly dangerous times, with threats intensifying both on and beneath the water. Plymouth should be in no doubt that it will be right at the heart of Britain’s fight for a safer world by homing these formidable warships.”

Devonport has been supporting the Royal Navy since 1691, with the vast site covering more than 650 acres with four miles of waterfront. Alongside frigates, it is home to Britain’s survey vessels and amphibious ships. Recently the Defence Secretary put to bed any speculation about the future of amphibious assault ships HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion by announcing he is protecting them.

The Base employs 2,500 people, supporting around 400 local firms and generating around 10% of Plymouth’s income. It is a key part of defence’s huge footprint in the South West, where the MOD spends £5.1bn with industry – more than in any other part of the country.

The eight Type 26s will replace the current anti-submarine warfare Type 23 frigates. They will make up the next-generation of the Navy’s fleet, along with a first batch of five Type 31e frigates. The decision on where the Type 31e frigates will be based is still to be made.

The first Type 26 ships have already been ordered for £3.7 billion from BAE Systems’ yards on the Clyde. The first four have already been named as HMS Glasgow, HMS Cardiff, HMS Belfast and HMS Birmingham. The flexible design of the frigates will also enable these capabilities to be adapted to counter future threats, and the ships will benefit from the latest advances in digital technology.

The formidable anti-submarine warship will include an embarked helicopter, powerful sonar detection systems, ship and helicopter-launched torpedoes and a design which makes the Type 26 extremely difficult for enemy submarines to detect.

The move follows the announcement last year that the eight Type 23 ships fitted with a towed array sonar tail would all be based in Devonport, making the site a centre of excellence in anti-submarine warfare. The five general purpose Type 23 frigates are now based in Portsmouth, which is also the home of the UK’s Type 45 Destroyers and new aircraft carriers.

Australia recently decided to build nine of the British-designed Type 26 warships, confirming the world-leading capability they will offer. The deal, which could be worth up to £20 billion, has been hailed as the biggest Naval ship deal for a decade.

The featured photo shows HMS Montrose. Crown copyright.