The United States (US) and Norway signed a Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement (SDCA), the government of Norway announced on April 16. Norway is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
The Agreement, signed by Norway’s Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen, must be submitted to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) for consent before it can enter into force. The Storting will also have to propose necessary legislation to implement terms of SDCA in Norwegian law. The Government of Norway plans to draft legislation and the Agreement and present it for public consultation in Spring 2021, with a three-month deadline. Both proposals are expected to be presented to Storting during the Autumn 2021 session.
As per the information released by Norway government, SDCA will provide a basis to enhance defence cooperation between Norway and the US. It will supplement Norway’s existing bilateral agreements with the US. Norway is also a NATO signatory and part of NATO’s Agreement between the Parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Regarding the Status of Their Forces (NATO SOFA), 1951.
Under SDCA, Norway will establish and regulate “Agreed Facilities and Areas” which may be used for military purposes. As per SDCA, US forces will have “unimpeded access” to and use of these facilities and areas. The location of these areas is expected to strengthen Norway-US cooperation in the air defence and maritime domains. Infrastructure development in these areas will be done in consultation with the US. The SDCA will regulate and facilitate US presence, training and exercises in Norway. This will facilitate the rapid US reinforcement of Norway in the event of crisis or war.
As per the statement released by the Government of Norway, the Agreement ensures that all US activities shall be conducted with full respect for the sovereignty, laws, and international legal obligations of Norway. The statement further reads that “Agreed Facilities and Areas” will be established at Rygge Military Air Station and Airfield, Sola Military Air Station and Airfield, Evenes Military Air Station and Airfield, and Ramsund Naval Station.
“The United States and Norway work closely together on a wide range of issues important to both nations and to the rest of the world. The SDCA reflects our commitment to reaffirming and reinvigorating America’s alliances to meet common security challenges and protect shared interests and values,” read the statement released by the US Department of State.
“The United States of America is Norway’s most important ally, and we have shared more than 70 years of close, constructive defence cooperation. The Agreement both updates and further develops the agreements and cooperation already in place between Norway and the U. S. The Agreement will play a vital role in ensuring Norwegian security within the framework of NATO”, said Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen in a statement.