General Eirik Kristoffersen, the head of the Norwegian Armed Forces, has issued a stark warning about the need for Norway to rapidly enhance its defense capabilities in response to Russia's escalating aggression. As reported by Dagbladet, Kristoffersen emphasized that Norway has a limited window of opportunity, possibly extending up to three years, to significantly bolster its defense systems.
"We do not know what Russia will look like in three years. We must prepare a robust national defense to face an uncertain and unpredictable world," stated the Norwegian defense chief.
He highlighted Russia's unexpectedly rapid restoration of its military capacity and its shift to a wartime economy, with weapon factories operating continuously and collaborations with nations like Iran and North Korea.
Kristoffersen also addressed the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine, noting how it is draining the weapon reserves of Norway and other European countries, creating a challenging situation. Despite this, he stressed the importance of continuing support for Ukraine, indicating that such assistance will be needed for an extended period.
When asked about the potential re-election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, Kristoffersen expressed confidence, saying,
"The situation in 2024 is very different from 2016 or 2020. In today's world, a strong NATO aligns with U.S. interests, and I believe Trump understands this."
Reflecting on Admiral Rob Bauer's statement about NATO members being ready for war, the Norwegian army chief pointed out the need for Norway to actively contribute to NATO's defense plans and address existing capability gaps. He mentioned that Norway must invest more in air defense, including an increase in munitions and spare parts.
Echoing sentiments expressed by Sweden's General Micael Byden, Kristoffersen urged Norwegians to be war-ready. "We are discussing similar issues, Byden and I. Norwegians should consider their readiness. We recommend being self-sufficient for three days and extending this period if in a vulnerable position," he advised, underscoring the need for individual and national preparedness amidst growing security concerns.