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Pentagon pulling rotating USMC presence from Norway--Indo-Pacific focus

MarkOttawa

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Doesn't seem this is one of Trump's bright ideas:

Washington pulls 700 US marines out of Norway
Norwegian troops will have to fill the gaps as the powerful American force slashes its presence in the country.

The US Marines has been permanently stationed in Norway on a rotational basis since 2017. That arrangement now comes to an end, the Norwegian Armed Forces informs.

From late fall this year, the Americans will pull out and visit Norway only in connection with exercises.

It is a major shift in US security relations with Norway, that inevitably will affect the military situation in the region.

Up to 700 marines today serve in Norway, many of them in the northern parts of the country. The force has rotated on a 6-month basis.

From late fall this year, only about 20 US marines will be left in Norway.

“Cooperation continues”

The Norwegian side downplays the significance of the force reduction. Cooperation and joint training will continue, the country’s military underlines.

“For the Army, good joint training will continue and at times with bigger American forces than today,” Major General Lars Lervik says in a comment.

About 400 marines are expected to take part in an exercise this fall, and up to 1,000 troops will engage in winter training early 2021, the Norwegian Army informs.

The US military hardware stored in Norway will remain in the country.

Force reorganization

The pull-out of Norway is reported to come in connection with a long-term reform process in U.S. forces. That process is headed by Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite, the former U.S. ambassador to Norway [emphasis added].

According to the Norwegian government, the U.S forces will not abandon Norway. In a comment to newspaper Aftenposten, Deputy Defense Minister Tone Skogen underlines that there is no talk about a cut from the side of the US Marines, only a “changed organization of training in Norway.”

It is believed that the U.S Marines now increasingly will put its main focus on the situation in the Pacific region and relations with China [emphasis added].

The situation in the Pacific region was also the reported reason why the American participation in Norwegian exercise Cold Response was reduced by 3,000 men in early 2020.

Continued Arctic engagement

The cut in presence in Norway comes as the U.S military increases its military engagement in the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

In the summer of 2020, US guided-missile destroyer «USS Roosevelt» sailed for more than 28 days above the Arctic Circle.

American flags in the Barents Sea is now “the new normal,” a defence analyst told the Barents Observer.

In addition comes a significant increase in US Air Force activities in the north. Over the last year, U.S long-range bombers B-1B, as well as stealth bomber B-2 and strategic bombers B-52, have paid visits to the region.

Rejoice in Moscow

The reduced permanent presence of U.S forces in Norway will be warmly welcomed in Moscow, where the authorities repeatedly have criticized Norway for its close cooperation with the American marines.

On a number of occasions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his deputies have lashed out against Oslo with accusations that it breaks with its traditional base policy according to which foreign troops are not to be permanently stationed in the country.

As late as early June this year, Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov in an interview underlined that Norway’s military buildup in the North “undermines peace, stability  and the atmosphere of trust in the region.”
https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2020/08/washington-pulls-700-us-marines-out-norway

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daftandbarmy

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MarkOttawa said:
Doesn't seem this is one of Trump's bright ideas:

Mark
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Norway has always been a bit of a big deal because it's the only NATO country that borders on Russia (I think that's still the case?), and is the closest 'non-neutral' country to the major Russian fleet in the Kola peninsula.

The perennial fear has always been that Russia will try a Crimea-like land grab of Norway's high arctic coastline to help safeguard it's Atlantic egress and ingress routes, and facilitate easier access through softening up the Norwegian locals via targeted misinformation campaigns.

Putin will be doing hand stands of joy right about now, I'm guessing.
 

Ostrozac

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daftandbarmy said:
Norway has always been a bit of a big deal because it's the only NATO country that borders on Russia (I think that's still the case?), and is the closest 'non-neutral' country to the major Russian fleet in the Kola peninsula.

Latvia and Estonia are both NATO members that have land borders with Russia. Poland and Lithuania can be added too, if you count Kaliningrad. Norway is definitely closer to Murmansk than Estonia is, though.
 

daftandbarmy

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Ostrozac said:
Latvia and Estonia are both NATO members that have land borders with Russia. Poland and Lithuania can be added too, if you count Kaliningrad. Norway is definitely closer to Murmansk than Estonia is, though.

And the Baltic countries have been 'Soviet-ized' at one time or another...

There are only about 5.5m people in Norway (about the same as BC), and only a comparative handful of folks in the Finnmark/Troms region - the most strategic chunk North Norway - which is way out of the range of most people's field of view. Many are broadly 'Russian sympathetic' too, so it's always a bit dodgier.

"Finnmark is the northernmost and easternmost county in Norway (Svalbard is not considered a county). By area, Finnmark is Norway's largest county, even larger than the neighboring country of Denmark. However, with a population of about 75,000, it is also the least populated of all Norwegian counties. Finnmark has a total coastline of 6,844 kilometres (4,253 mi), including 3,155 kilometres (1,960 mi) of coastline on the islands. Nearly 12,300 people or 16.6 percent of the county's population in 2000 was living in the 100-meter belt along the coastline." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnmark
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
And the Baltic countries have been 'Soviet-ized' at one time or another...

There are only about 5.5m people in Norway (about the same as BC), and only a comparative handful of folks in the Finnmark/Troms region - the most strategic chunk North Norway - which is way out of the range of most people's field of view. Many are broadly 'Russian sympathetic' too, so it's always a bit dodgier.

"Finnmark is the northernmost and easternmost county in Norway (Svalbard is not considered a county). By area, Finnmark is Norway's largest county, even larger than the neighboring country of Denmark. However, with a population of about 75,000, it is also the least populated of all Norwegian counties. Finnmark has a total coastline of 6,844 kilometres (4,253 mi), including 3,155 kilometres (1,960 mi) of coastline on the islands. Nearly 12,300 people or 16.6 percent of the county's population in 2000 was living in the 100-meter belt along the coastline." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnmark

If you get Netflix you may wish to give the Norwegian TV Series "Occupied" a try. Here's a brief plot summary:

In the near future, Middle East turmoil and the U.S. withdrawal from NATO triggers an energy crisis. A catastrophic hurricane fueled by climate change devastates Norway, killing 700–800 people and causing untold physical and economic damage. The Norwegian Green Party is swept to power in response, and idealistic prime minister Jesper Berg plans to develop thorium-based nuclear power as a viable alternative to oil. To this end, Berg cuts off all fossil fuel production, intensifying the energy crisis in the continent. The European Union, in desperation, acquiesces to a Russian-led invasion of Norway.

... Tensions increase further as Russian troops make an expedition into Finnmark and a Russian naval fleet conducts exercises off the coast of northern Norway

:cheers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupied
 

Donald H

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daftandbarmy said:
Putin will be doing hand stands of joy right about now, I'm guessing.

Sounds like a good guess! And Xi in China isn't likely to ge disappointed either. Just wonder how the Republican side of US congress will be taking it?

It says a lot about Trump and the Repubs IMHO. The American people have been a lot less vocal in the past 3 years or so on bringing the troops home.
 

reveng

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Ok, so the USMC is going to be busy in the Pacific...I think the UK is planning to have one of the new RM Vanguard Strike Companies supporting Norway. Kind of makes sense considering the geography.

So...that's two members of NATO, what are the rest of them doing to help? Besides complaining about the US, I mean. Maybe one of the Euros should kick in...or Canada, since we really aren't "heavy" maybe we can contribute some light forces to work with the UK...

Or we can just sit back and point fingers at the Americans.
 

Spencer100

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reverse_engineer said:
Ok, so the USMC is going to be busy in the Pacific...I think the UK is planning to have one of the new RM Vanguard Strike Companies supporting Norway. Kind of makes sense considering the geography.

So...that's two members of NATO, what are the rest of them doing to help? Besides complaining about the US, I mean. Maybe one of the Euros should kick in...or Canada, since we really aren't "heavy" maybe we can contribute some light forces to work with the UK...

Or we can just sit back and point fingers at the Americans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Air-Sea_Transportable_Brigade_Group

:whistle: :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:
 

TangoTwoBravo

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The USMC can't be everywhere all the time. They demonstrated in November 2018 that they can project a sizeable force into Norway on Ex TRIDENT JUNCTURE, and they could do it again. For those keeping score, the Canadian Armed Forces also sent a significant Joint force into/around Norway on that exercise.
 

daftandbarmy

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reverse_engineer said:
Ok, so the USMC is going to be busy in the Pacific...I think the UK is planning to have one of the new RM Vanguard Strike Companies supporting Norway. Kind of makes sense considering the geography.

So...that's two members of NATO, what are the rest of them doing to help? Besides complaining about the US, I mean. Maybe one of the Euros should kick in...or Canada, since we really aren't "heavy" maybe we can contribute some light forces to work with the UK...

Or we can just sit back and point fingers at the Americans.

Having been part of NATO's much vaunted 'Northern Flank Defence', over three long winter deployments, when the USMC turned up for the big exercise at the end it made our puny AMF (L) joint brigade sized contribution look like a rubber duck at the Battle of Midway. And they only really took the Canadian and British Bns seriously because, you know, conscripted Italians formed the third unit.

I had a rifle company with 60 (albeit very fit and keen) Royal Marines and light weapons, no bigger than a 60mm MOR, plus five limping BV 202s.

Their rifle companies had five huge platoons, stuffed with direct and indirect fire support assets, chauffeured around in a fleet of LVTP 7s. Oh, and they had 18 x F18s on call....
 
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stellarpanther

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reverse_engineer said:
So...that's two members of NATO, what are the rest of them doing to help? Besides complaining about the US, I mean. Maybe one of the Euros should kick in...or Canada, since we really aren't "heavy" maybe we can contribute some light forces to work with the UK...

I know I'm only an HRA so I'm probably missing something here but, help with what.  Who's under attack?  The Russians are not going to attack any NATO country whether we are there or not.
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
... And they only really took the Canadian and British Bns seriously because, you know, conscripted Italians formed the third unit...

The Alpini were some of my favourite people back then even if they still used the M1 Garand. They even gave me an Alpini hat and a fair amount of brandy, wine and grappa ;D

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
The Alpini were some of my favourite people back then even if they still used the M1 Garand. They even gave me an Alpini hat and a fair amount of brandy, wine and grappa ;D

:cheers:

They were also unique in our minds as they were the only troops we ever saw run away from a defensive position that was being attacked... by troops with blanks.

A tough stereotype, I know... :)
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
They were also unique in our minds as they were the only troops we ever saw run away from a defensive position that was being attacked... by troops with blanks.

A tough stereotype, I know... :)

I always thought that the funniest thing about them was that the conscript that had the lengthiest training course was the mule driver - if I recall correctly some 9 months of their 15 month service at the time. And oh yes, most lieutenants and sergeants were also conscripts who were drafted and sent directly on courses and then promoted.

There was one young 2nd Lt I met up in the mountains who had a degree in architecture and whose only job in the regiment was to make panoramic sketches for use at the colonel's observation post. They were pieces of art worthy of Michelangelo.

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
I always thought that the funniest thing about them was that the conscript that had the lengthiest training course was the mule driver - if I recall correctly some 9 months of their 15 month service at the time. And oh yes, most lieutenants and sergeants were also conscripts who were drafted and sent directly on courses and then promoted.

There was one young 2nd Lt I met up in the mountains who had a degree in architecture and whose only job in the regiment was to make panoramic sketches for use at the colonel's observation post. They were pieces of art worthy of Michelangelo.

:cheers:

We liked them because they were usually starving, being maltreated like most conscripts, so we would trade them our arctic rations (dried mutton and peas!) for some of their rations: grappa and wine.  ;D
 

Donald H

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stellarpanther said:
I know I'm only an HRA so I'm probably missing something here but, help with what.  Who's under attack?  The Russians are not going to attack any NATO country whether we are there or not.

That could have a lot to do with the reason why Trump is pulling the USMC out.
 

daftandbarmy

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Donald H said:
That could have a lot to do with the reason why Trump is pulling the USMC out.

In Norway the threat has never been an overt attack from Russia, but more of a concentrated effort on the influence operations spectrum to convince the North Noggies to let them come in and, you know, couch surf for awhile... with a few Marine Divisions. Any sign of weakness from NATO, and especially the USA, might be a signal to Moscow that they can get away with something.


Putin 'eyes land grab in key Arctic region' as grapple with China and US intensifies

VLADIMIR PUTIN could be plotting an invasion of a key Arctic region as the battle for influence between Russia, US and China ramps up, as reported by Elizabeth Buchanan and Mathieu Boulegue for National Interest.

The island cluster of Svalbard, located between the North Pole and mainland Norway could prove an important strategic stronghold for nations looking to stamp their mark on the Arctic region. There have been whisperings of Russian intent in the region due to Moscow's emphasis on the development of amphibious assault weapons, as well as a military exercise in 2017 where Moscow forces practiced an attack on the islands owned by Norway. Aldrimer reported that while NATO remained cagey in responding to the exercise, officials were aggravated by Oslo's lack of pre-warning. Buchanan and Boulegue highlight that in a hypothetical conflict between Russia and Europe, the Svalbard region would represent significant tactical advantages.


https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1192003/putin-news-russia-plotting-arctic-invasion-trump-china-challenge-world-war-3-spt
 

YZT580

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The island cluster of Svalbard:  Which could be the reason that the North Atlantic fleet spent so much time north of 60 this year.  The marines in Norway would be useless if Russia attacked Svalbard.  They would be within range of the Soviet air force from the minute they mounted up to reinforce whatever forces Norway has on the island.  Russia on the other hand would have to contend with the full NA fleet including air power at all times. It would be far worse than the British dealt with in the Falklands as there would be both the American Navy from the sea and GB from their northern Scottish bases and even us possibly from advanced bases in Iceland. Re-supply would be costly if not impossible. 
 

Donald H

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daftandbarmy said:
In Norway the threat has never been an overt attack from Russia, but more of a concentrated effort on the influence operations spectrum to convince the North Noggies to let them come in and, you know, couch surf for awhile... with a few Marine Divisions. Any sign of weakness from NATO, and especially the USA, might be a signal to Moscow that they can get away with something.


Putin 'eyes land grab in key Arctic region' as grapple with China and US intensifies

VLADIMIR PUTIN could be plotting an invasion of a key Arctic region as the battle for influence between Russia, US and China ramps up, as reported by Elizabeth Buchanan and Mathieu Boulegue for National Interest.

The island cluster of Svalbard, located between the North Pole and mainland Norway could prove an important strategic stronghold for nations looking to stamp their mark on the Arctic region. There have been whisperings of Russian intent in the region due to Moscow's emphasis on the development of amphibious assault weapons, as well as a military exercise in 2017 where Moscow forces practiced an attack on the islands owned by Norway. Aldrimer reported that while NATO remained cagey in responding to the exercise, officials were aggravated by Oslo's lack of pre-warning. Buchanan and Boulegue highlight that in a hypothetical conflict between Russia and Europe, the Svalbard region would represent significant tactical advantages.


https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1192003/putin-news-russia-plotting-arctic-invasion-trump-china-challenge-world-war-3-spt

I would agree. But the fact still remains that Trump apparently doesn't agree that the threat exists.  That is, assuming that Trump is still permitted to make strategic decisions of this sort.

A quick surf to RT.com will show that there's little doubt Russia's propagandists are highly favouring Trump over Biden.
 
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stellarpanther

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Donald H said:
A quick surf to RT.com will show that there's little doubt Russia's propagandists are highly favouring Trump over Biden.

US Intel is saying the same thing to Congress.  Russia appears to be spreading misinformation against Joe Biden.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/07/politics/us-intelligence-russia-election-interference-biden/index.html
 
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