Norway: More Funds for Military Spending in 2011

By GERARD O’DWYER
Published: 19 May 2011 13:53

The Norwegian government’s revised national budget proposal for 2011, which was approved by Labor Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Cabinet on May 19, will mean $63 million in additional spending for the armed forces this year, a development welcomed by military chiefs.

« The revised budget is significant in bringing us one step closer to goals for a long-term defense plan that covers the years 2009-2012, » said Defense Minister Grete Faremo, who said the government is pleased with improving economies and efficiencies within the armed forces.

The size of the extra-budgetary expenditure for defense is even bigger if additional monies that target modernization programs being run by the Home Guard – amounting to $29 million – are included.

The government had originally allocated $7 billion to the 2011 defense budget, a sum higher than in previous years but weighted by once-off payments to cover improvements in the military’s stock of bases, facilities and other properties.

The $63 million in extra-expenditure will be principally used to fund broader Army training programs, and to give the Navy and Air Force greater resources to spend more hours at sea and in the air.

The funding available in the 2011 defense budget had been a factor in curbing both the Navy’s and the Air Force’s ability to provide monies and manpower to core naval patrols, flight-training operations and exercises in the current year.

The increased price for oil and gas on world markets has proved to be hugely important to improving Norway’s ability to fund special budgetary areas, such as defense. The dividends paid to the state by the Pension Fund Global, which invests Norway’s oil and gas earnings, has being steadily rising since mid-2010. The sovereign wealth fund had a market value of more than $600 billion at the end of April.

The supplementary budget for defense also spells good news for international operations. The budget allocates an extra $48 million in 2011 to support operations of the Air Force’s F-16 Squadron, which was dispatched in April to enforce the no-fly zone in Libya under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.

Moreover, Norway’s anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia will receive an additional $6 million this year.

Source: defensenews.com

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