en_240_norwegianofficermakeen_240_norwegianofficermakehttp://forsvaret.no/en/Lists/RelatedMedia/DispForm.aspx?ID=589For the past eleven years, Louise Dedichen has been chief for the Norwegian Defence University College. Now she heads to the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Photo by Hedvig A. Halgunset/media/PubImages/20190712_HAH9088.jpg

Norwegian admiral makes NATO history

One of Norway’s most prominent officers paves the way when she becomes the first woman in NATO’s Military Committee.

This coming new year, vice admiral Louise Dedichen takes over as chief of the Norwegian Military Mission to NATO. Not only is she the first woman to hold this position, but she is also Norway’s first ever female admiral. And as chief of the Norwegian Military Mission, she also becomes the first woman in the Military Committee, NATO's top military council. Dedichen thinks other countries will respond well to Norway having a female representative in the Military Committee.

“I expect it to work fine. And I don’t think it will take too long until there are more women in the Military Committee. I really look forward to that, because being one and being more women in the committee, makes a big difference”, Dedichen says in a recent interview with the Norwegian Armed Forces.



en_240_norwegianofficermakeen_240_norwegianofficermakehttp://forsvaret.no/en/Lists/RelatedMedia/DispForm.aspx?ID=588In June 2019, Dedichen was appointed vice admiral. Here together with the Norwegian Chief of Defence, admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen. Photo by Martin Giskegjerde/media/PubImages/20190621MG-6297.jpg

This is not the first time she paves the way for a more gender-balanced military, however. The 55-year-old is used to being the “first ever woman” in different positions and appointments. In 2008, she was appointed rear admiral and took over as chief for the Norwegian Defence University College. This summer, she was appointed vice admiral and is looking forward to starting her new job at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. 

“My most important task is to promote Norway's views in NATO, and contribute to creating a good dialogue between the nations. In many ways this is a military diplomatic position, where I maintain good contact between the representatives and promote Norwegian features and views.”

“What will be important to you in the new position?”

“To me it is important to try to see the big picture. That is essential in a large and powerful organisation like NATO. The world situation is not identical to everyone”, she says, and elaborates:

“In Italy, for example, we see that the main challenges are dealing with boat refugees and high government debt – in contrast to the situation in Norway. Without realising or showing that we take other countries' challenges seriously, we also cannot expect them to understand that the Artic is important to us in Norway. We need to be united on the real threat picture. In any important decision, it is important to ask questions that extend beyond the boundaries of a given topic, and to keep in mind what we really need to achieve.”

When asked what things worry her, the Vice Admiral says that she thinks people generally stress and worry too much.

Vice admiral Louise Dedichen.

“When we are stressed and anxious, it can be difficult to address the things that need to be addressed. In addition, we see increased polarisation and a more unhealthy debate climate. I think that is partly because the digital revolution has put an enormous pressure on people. There is a lot of information coming from everywhere, so taking a time-out from time to time and relaxing is essential to being able to see things in perspective.”

Her two daughters are full-time environmental activists. Dedichen thinks that everyone – including the military – needs to be aware of one's own footsteps on the environment.

“Climate challenges will somehow set the agenda in the future, also for the Armed Forces. Today, the Norwegian Armed Forces solve several extra tasks on behalf of the civil society, and these national extra tasks may also apply to other countries in the future”.

Dedichen has NATO experience from before, serving as deputy for the chief for the Norwegian Military Mission in 1995–1998.

“So I know the dynamics and atmosphere of the NATO system. From my other jobs, I have learned the importance of using the diversity that exists in any organisation. I need to get to know the people around me to understand what they are good at. You also need to see each individual, because in a big puzzle every piece is just as important. If the smallest pieces do not work, it will affect the entire organisation.”



Vice admiral Louise Kathrine DedichenVice admiral Louise Kathrine Dedichen<ul><li> <style> p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } span.TopptekstTegn { } .MsoChpDefault { font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } div.WordSection1 { } </style><span lang="EN-GB">Born in 1964 in Fredrikstad, south-eastern Norway</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">Started her military career in 1983, and was appointed chief of the Norwegian Defence University College in 2008.</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">In June 2019, she was appointed vice admiral and will succeed vice admiral Ketil Olsen as chief of the Norwegian Military Mission to Brussels this new year. </span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">As chief she will be the Norwegian Armed Forces’ top representative to NATO. She will also be Norway’s permanent representative in NATO’s Military Committee as the first female committee member in the history of the Alliance. </span></li></ul>http://forsvaret.no/en/Lists/FactBoxList/DispForm.aspx?ID=6

Published 13 August 2019 12:13.. Last updated 14 August 2019 09:53.