Don't Rock the Boat

Reinforcing Norway in Crisis and War

by John Lund


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There is inherent tension in Norwegian security policy because Norway depends absolutely on NATO reinforcements for both the deterrence of Soviet aggression and for defense if deterrence fails, yet it views the presence of Allied forces as potentially antagonistic toward the Soviet Union and potentially destabilizing in a crisis. This report examines the roots of this dilemma in recent Norwegian history and elite attitudes. The author asserts that Norway might hesitate to permit the deployment of Allied forces in a crisis, to avoid "rocking the boat" and precipitating a war. Based on an analysis of the military balance in the region surrounding Norway, the author concludes that the Soviet Union could exploit delayed reinforcement by attacking airbases, preventing the deployment of Allied reinforcements by strategic airlifters. Finally, the author considers options for mitigating the effects of delayed reinforcement and offers a framework for comparing these options. The author concludes that deploying with tactical rather than strategic airlifters would significantly improve the chances for timely deployment of critical reinforcements, while improved airbase defenses and the addition of an airbase would inhibit Soviet ability to exploit delayed reinforcement.

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