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Viewing cable 09OSLO146, DREAMS IN POLAR FOG: PROPOSED NORDIC EFENSE AND

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09OSLO146 2009-03-06 11:11 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Oslo
VZCZCXRO2028
RR RUEHSR
DE RUEHNY #0146/01 0651129
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061129Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7402
INFO RUEHXP/ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 8061
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 4038
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 3373
RUEHNY/ODC OSLO NO
RUEHNY/USDAO OSLO NO
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0259
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0303
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 OSLO 000146 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/06/2019 
TAGS: PNR PGOV PREL MARR MCAP MOPS DA IC FI SW
SUBJECT: DREAMS IN POLAR FOG: PROPOSED NORDIC EFENSE AND 
SECURITY COOPERATION 
 
REF: 08 OSLO 54 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin . Johnson 
for reasons 1.4 b and d 
 
1.(C) Summay: Challenged to re-invigorate Nordic 
cooperation, former Norwegian Foreign Minister (and father of 
PM Jens Stoltenberg) Thorvald Stoltenberg presented 13 
recommendations proposing greater civil and military 
cooperation and a Nordic version of NATO's Article Five. 
Stoltenberg delivered his wide-ranging (and non-binding) 
recommendations at the February 9 meeting of the Nordic 
Foreign Ministers.  Norway's current FM, Jonas Gahr Stoere, 
hailed the report as historic and modern.  Reactions from 
other Norwegian policy-makers has been less enthusiastic, but 
several of the recommendations have potential to increase 
Nordic capabilities and cooperation in international 
operations, a plus for the UN and NATO. In addition, the U.S. 
could propose specific areas where we see Nordic cooperation 
contributing to NATO or U.S. priorities. End Summary. 
 
A Nordic Article Five? 
--------------------- 
 
2.(C) The most attention-grabbing of Stoltenberg's ideas was 
his call for a Nordic declaration of solidarity, including a 
mutually binding security policy guarantee.  In his 
introductory press conference, Stoltenberg stressed that this 
proposal was not designed to take the place of existing 
treaty commitments, but should be viewed as something 
additional.  Nonetheless, this idea was seen by some as a 
potential challenge to Swedish and Finnish neutrality and to 
Norway's traditional transatlantic orientation.  Reaction in 
Norway has been largely dismissive of the idea but it is easy 
to see echoes of a call by the Norwegian Socialist Left 
Party's defense spokesman for a division of labor in the 
Nordics with Finland responsible for a joint army, Sweden for 
the air force and Norway for the navy.  Senior Norwegian 
officials including the PM's foreign policy advisor and the 
MFA's political director have privately indicated to us that 
there is little or no interest in a Nordic solidarity 
declaration in the GON. 
 
Saving Money and Sharing Responsibilities 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3.(U) Declining defense budgets across the Nordic region have 
already inspired the Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) of Norway, 
Sweden and Finland to conduct a study on areas of possible 
cooperation.  Stoltenberg expands on the CHODs' study, 
proposing joint medical units, transport and lift capability 
(both air and sea), cooperation in training and education 
(including firing and exercise ranges) and joint equipment 
upgrades and purchases.  Stoltenberg singled out army 
material as particularly promising citing the common use of 
all Nordics (with the exception of non-military Iceland) of 
Leopard 2 battle tanks, CV-90 combat vehicles and Sisu Pasi 
armored personnel carriers.   Stoltenberg also proposed 
developing a joint amphibious unit, based on current 
cooperation between Sweden and Finland, which could be 
deployed anywhere in the Nordics and in international 
operations. 
 
4.(C) Lest Iceland feel neglected, Stoltenberg proposed that 
the Nordics take on part of the responsibility for air 
surveillance and patrolling over Iceland.  Initially this 
would be through participation in the regular Northern Viking 
exercises, followed by rotations in the NATO air patrol 
rotations and a possible permanent presence at Keflavik air 
base.  Norway and Denmark already participate in the NATO 
program.  Swedish and Finnish participation would require 
finalization of an agreement between NATO and Sweden and 
Finland on data exchange with NATO's air defense system.   In 
theory this sort of cooperation could be a practical example 
of cooperation under the Partnership for Peace program. 
Surprisingly, Norwegian officials have been very critical of 
this proposal, with the MFA's Political Director and the PM's 
International Advisor both expressing strong dislike for this 
item. 
 
 
OSLO 00000146  002 OF 003 
 
 
Keeping an eye on Polar Bears and Russians 
------------------------------------------ 
 
5.(U) Maritime monitoring is a central focus of the report 
with three separate but interrelated recommendations.  These 
include establishing a Nordic maritime monitoring system, a 
joint maritime response force, and a joint satellite system 
for surveillance and communications.  The monitoring system 
and the satellite proposal all reflect the need for 
improvements in the ability to monitor civilian and military 
shipping, environmental data and pollution.  This need will 
increase if shipping volume in the region increases due to 
sea ice melting or development of energy projects such as the 
Shtockman field.  Norway is in the process of developing a 
civilian-military Barents Sea monitoring system called 
Barents Watch, and Sweden and Finland are currently expanding 
their joint defense surveillance system to the entire Baltic 
Sea.  Stoltenberg calls for a joint Nordic effort to ensure 
that national efforts are combatable and do not replicate 
functions.  A joint satellite would allow for complete and 
constant monitoring of the entire Nordic region, as well as 
enabling secure communications in the event of a crisis. 
Currently the Nordic nations purchase satellite services from 
U.S. and European suppliers which do not provide satisfactory 
coverage above 71 degrees north.  Once a monitoring system is 
in place there will be a need for a response capability for 
search and rescue and other emergencies.  This capability 
should include icebreakers fit for Arctic use.  Although 
Baltic capabilities are strong, there are not currently 
enough resources to cover the vast sea areas under Norwegian, 
Danish (Greenland) and Icelandic control, particularly if 
shipping in the area increases. 
 
Addressing 21st Century Challenges 
---------------------------------- 
 
6.(U) Stoltenberg also proposed a number of ideas which would 
increase civil cooperation including a Nordic stabilization 
task force, a joint disaster response unit, a Nordic resource 
network to protect against cyber attacks, a war crimes 
investigation unit, cooperation between foreign services, and 
on Arctic issues.  The need for cooperation in war crimes 
prosecution, protection of infrastructure from cyber attack 
and on Arctic issues is clear and relatively 
non-controversial.  Cooperation between foreign services is 
much more difficult and will likely be limited to countries 
where none of the Nordics have representation now. 
 
7.(U) As envisioned, the Nordic stabilization task force 
would consist of military, humanitarian, state-building 
(police officers, judges, prison officers, election 
observers) and development assistance components.  This unit 
would be intended for use in UN-led operations and for NATO, 
EU, AU or OSCE missions with a UN mandate.  Stoltenberg 
proposes that the military forces allocated to this unit be 
drawn from those currently available for the EU Nordic Battle 
Group and the NATO Response Force. 
 
Dreams or Reality? 
----------------- 
 
8.(C) Comment: High defense costs, a genuine preference to 
work with other Nordics and clear regional needs are real 
factors which inspired the Stoltenberg study and which may 
result in some of his recommendations being followed.  The 
Nordic Ministers will meet next on June 9 in Iceland and will 
announce which recommendations will be pursued.  GON 
officials have uniformly stressed that where money can be 
saved and capabilities increased they are positive.  They 
were much less positive about the grander ambitions, such as 
the Nordic solidarity declaration and taking over 
responsibility for Iceland's air patrols.  Where this study 
could result in something of value is primarily in any 
increase in military, international operations and 
surveillance capacity.  Joint Nordic transport capabilities, 
medical teams, amphibious units, a stabilization task force 
and maritime awareness could be important contributions to 
UN, NATO or U.S. missions. 
 
ΒΆ9. (C) The U.S. should encourage Nordic cooperation to the 
 
OSLO 00000146  003 OF 003 
 
 
extent that it increases the Nordics' willingness and ability 
to improve their internal and international capabilities to 
deal with global challenges.  It may also be of benefit to 
propose specific issues where we see Nordic cooperation 
contributing to NATO or U.S. priorities, such as maritime 
monitoring of the Barents, the development of stabilization 
teams, increases in military capacity, prosecution of war 
criminals, etc. 
WHITNEY