The Norwegian government has decided to send 50 to 60 extra Norwegian soldiers to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Lithuania. The increased Norwegian force contribution was announced by the Norwegian government Tuesday morning. The backdrop for this situation is the tense security situation in and around Ukraine. The 50–60 extra soldiers are based in a mechanized infantry unit and they will join the existing Norwegian force in Lithuania. As of today, Norway has a mechanized infantry company of about 150 soldiers from the Norwegian Army’s Brigade Nord. This company is part of the NATO eFP Battlegroup Lithuania.
The eFP is a defensive and reassuring measure that emphasizes the Alliance’s will for collective defence. Norway has continuously contributed with forces to eFP since the start. The new Norwegian force will deploy to Lithuania quickly and initially for three months. The period can be extended. The Norwegian Force is based at a Lithuanian garrison in the town of Rukla, about 90 km outside the capital Vilnius. The Norwegians train and exercise together with soldiers from Belgium, Iceland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, and the host country Lithuania. The contribution rotates between the Alliance’s member countries.
“We want to contribute to a strengthened Allied presence and security in the Baltics to show solidarity with our allies. For our part, this is best done by strengthening the force contribution we already have in Lithuania. We are experiencing a challenging security situation in Europe. The massive Russian build-up around Ukraine, and the demands on the United States and Europe, have changed the security situation in Europe. This also affects Norway, and we are following the situation closely”, says Norwegian Minister of Defence, Odd Roger Enoksen.
Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) is a NATO-allied forward-deployed defense and deterrence military force in Central and Northern Europe. The Enhanced Forward Presence, EFP, consists of four rotational, multinational battalion-size battle groups based in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland. The Norwegian contribution is part of a German-led multinational battalion. This posture in Central Europe through Poland and Northern Europe through Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is in place to protect and reassure the security of NATO’s Central and Northern European member states on NATO’s eastern flank. Following Russia’s invasion of Crimea, NATO’s member states agreed at the 2016 Warsaw summit to forward deploy four multinational battalion battle groups to areas most likely to get attacked.