Kristoffersen takes over as Norway's Chief of Defence

He characterises himself as an including and impatient leader. Today, General Eirik Kristoffersen takes over as Norway's new Chief of Defence.

​Since 2013, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen has served as Norway's Chief of Defence. On 17 August he left his position over to General Eirik Kristoffersen.

The new chief has more than 30 years of military experience – including different positions in the Army, the Special Forces and the Home Guard. Kristoffersen, 51, is ready for the job. And he is impatient.

"It is important to me not to become a bottleneck. My worst fear is having people waiting for me to make a decision", says the newly-appointed Chief of Defence.

General Eirik Kristoffersen. That will most likely not be a problem. Kristoffersen is known for being an including, outgoing and impatient leader.

The former special forces soldier is also one of Norway's highest merited officers. In 2011, he was awarded the War Cross with sword for his bravery and extreme efforts during operations in Afghanistan.

Now, the war hero commands the Norwegian Armed Forces. And he has set the ground for a higher pace in the Norwegian military.

Chief of Defence 101

The past weeks, his predecessor Haakon Bruun-Hanssen has held a "Chief of Defence 101 Course" for Kristoffersen. They have visited departments and units all across the Norwegian defence sector and listened to numerous briefs and updates. Kristoffersen is impressed by all the competent and committed people in the sector.

"There are so many people who really want to pull in the same direction and contribute to making the armed forces even better".

The new Chief of Defence has only good things to say about his predecessor. Kristoffersen is particularly impressed by Bruun-Hanssen's patience and long-term thinking. And also by allowing his sub-commanders so much responsibility.

Full speed ahead

The new Chief of Defence emphasises that the main principles of Bruun-Hanssen's Strategic Defence Reviews of 2015 and 2019 will remain the same.

"I hope that I can do things even faster than it has been done in the Armed Forces up till now. Bruun-Hanssen has set the direction, now we need to get maximum defence capability out of what we have – as soon as possible."

Many people in the Armed Forces have great expectations to the new chief.

"I have made it clear that I will probably disappoint people who have very high expectations of me. I will not be able to meet all expectations – at least not in the short term. There is always a balance."

On his first workweek as chief, he travels to the air bases of Andøya and Evenes in the Ofoten Region in northern Norway. Norway's P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft operate from Andøya. But the squadron will be moved to Evenes as soon as the new P-8 Poseidon aircraft take over from around 2022.

"The development of Evenes air base is very important for me. Ofoten is also a strategically important region for the Armed Forces, that is why I have decided to visit Andøya and Evenes first", he says.

Published 17 August 2020 12:46.. Last updated 24 August 2020 09:51.