You are making army history here today. To drive the development of a brand new corps of specialists from its inception, is an opportunity few have ever been granted, said general Philip M. Breedlove while describing the new personnel system in the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Improved combat power
General Breedlove is a U.S. Air Force general, and is currently the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR).
On Tuesday 2 February, he participated in the first command team forum in the Norwegian Army. The general is very much engaged in developing effective command teams for NATO. He flew to Norway with no other purpose than to participate in this meeting with Norwegian Army battalion commanders and their command sergeants.
"This is extremely important for NATO. The Alliance will thrive from it. Our forces are not growing in numbers, and we must therefore operate more efficiently," Breedlove upheld during the forum.
believes in Norway
General Breedlove is convinced that the emerging non-commissioned officer's corps of the Norwegian Armed Forces will be important to NATO. According to him, only seven or eight members of the alliance have successful NCO corps, and he expects Norway to follow suit.
"These countries are employing their NCOs successfully. Your contribution will cause great changes in the entire Alliance, but it will require everyone's dedication," Breedlove said enthusiastically.
In June 2015, the Norwegian parliament passed a bill to establish a new personnel system in the Norwegian Armed Force – adding a new NCO corps to the existing officer's corps.
The decision has been received with mixed feelings in the Armed Forces. General Breedlove encouraged everyone to set aside their differences, and to cooperate.
"You have to embrace this system, and you have to change your mindsets. The NCOs will support the officers in accomplishing all missions. Consequently, the specialists will need time, resources and funding to develop their profession and to function properly," Breedlove concluded.
Satisfied army chief
The meeting in Oslo was a command team forum. All commanding officers of the Norwegian Army and their newly selected command sergeants, were present. Inspector General of the Norwegian Army, Major General Odin Johannessen, was pleased with the support provided by SACEUR.
"His visit is precisely what we need to get this process going in the right direction. We need to ensure that the new system develops into a driver for improved combat power for all our services," Johannessen commented after the meeting with SACEUR.