During the NATO 2016 Warsaw Summit it was decided that the alliance would enhance its forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The presence is a defensive and reassuring measure that emphasises the Alliance's will for collective defence.
Enhanced Forward Presence consists of four rotational, multinational battalion-size battle groups based in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. The Norwegian contribution is part of a German-led multinational battalion.
The Norwegian Contribution
From January 2018 the Norwegian contribution has consisted of about 30 soldiers from a reconnaissance unit from the Norwegian Army.
The Norwegian force contributes with collecting information for NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland. The information will help creating a situational picture and situational awareness so that the decision-making basis for the commanders is the best possible.
The Battalion that Norway is a part of is located in a Lithuanian garrison in Rukla, about 90 km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Here the Norwegian soldiers will be training and exercising together with soldiers from Belgium, France, Croatia, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Germany as well as soldiers from the host nation Lithuania.
Major Christian Berglund Markussen is the officer in tactical command for the Norwegian force contribution in Lithuania, which will be stationed in Lithuania until the summer of 2018.
Norway has contributed with soldiers in Enhanced Forward Presence since spring 2017. In April 2017 a small forward team of Norwegian military personnel was sent to Rukla to make sure that everything was ready when the Norwegian main forces entered the garrison in late May.
From May until December 2017 The Norwegian contribution consisted of 200 men and women from the Army. The majority of the soldiers belonged to the Telemark Battalion. They were, however, supported by soldiers from the whole Brigade Nord, including fire control, military police, communications support, logistics and engineers.
The Norwegian forces brought with them main battle tanks, CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, combat engineering vehicles (STING), armoured engineering vehicles, bridge layers, armoured recovery vehicles, fire control vehicles, tracked vehicles, excavators and command and control vehicles.