Norway Accelerates Arctic Regions’ Militarization


The Norwegian Defense Real Estate Agency (Forsvarsbygg) will spend NOK 6.5 billion on the construction and renovation of the Skjold military base in Målselv. Photo: NRK

Over the next twelve years, the Norwegian Defense Estate Agency (NDEA) will spend almost NOK 100 billion ($9.4 billion) on modernizing military facilities in the country. The implementation of the ambitious plan largely depends on the ability of the Norwegian business community to absorb the largest allocation for military construction since the World War II.

On 2 July 2024, Marit Christiansen, Director of the NDEA Procurement Directorate, stated that a lot of things will happen in the north in a short time. She elaborated at the Norwegian Air Force base in Bardufoss at an information meeting on the development and agreements on the operation of military facilities, held under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense and NDEA.

At the beginning of June 2024, Norwegian parliament (Storting) agreed on a new long-term plan for the development of the Armed Forces for the period 2025–2036, providing for the allocation of a total of NOK 1.635 billion ($155.8 billion) for military development over the next 12 years, which is 80 percent more than the current military budget. In accordance with the plan, a large number of large-scale projects will be implemented to expand existing and build new military facilities.

NDEA's new long-term military building program allocates NOK 97 billion. This year, NOK 700 million has been allocated to improve the condition of the barracks, housing and infrastructure. A tender has already been announced for the construction of military housing in Skjold in the municipality of Målselv. A tender will soon be held for several projects, both inside and outside the military installations in Skjold and Setermoen. Construction in the latter will cost approximately NOK 10 billion: projects to restore the barracks, new housing and a security building are already underway. Three multifunctional halls, office buildings, 35 residential buildings and 60 residential units, as well as many other facilities, will be built here. In turn, in Skjold the military construction will cost 6.5 billion, including living quarters, a multi-purpose hall, a laundry and an office building.

The local business community is ready to take on construction projects, says Frode Kiil from Målselv Brødrene Kiil. However, the upcoming projects are so large in terms of the volume of work to be done, and the deadlines are tight, that local contractor firms will have to join forces to implement them. The confidence expressed by Kiil regarding the commencement of projects in the north of the country suggests a positive outlook for all contractors and the local economy. 

The commander of the Norwegian army, Major General Lars Sivert Lervik, believes that the Armed Forces are heavily reliant on local actors in the construction services market. He describes the problem that large-scale military construction entails as follows: “What we will do now is continue to drive our car while modernizing it. And then we will also buy new cars.”

In parallel, Lervik believes that the primary task will be to create comfortable living conditions for military personnel. Then, it will be necessary to implement projects for the reconstruction of military training grounds and equipment storage bases. “When the world changes, we must change with the world.” His statement reflects a comprehensive approach to military development that considers not just the tactical and strategic needs, but also the welfare of service members and the role of the military in the broader society.

Source: NRK