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Defence reform

Change is a persistent feature of every public sector, which has to evolve and adapt to changing priorities and surroundings. The defence sector in Norway and other NATO member states has been and remains subject to wide-reaching reforms.

The institute's programme for research on military change addresses questions such as: How have the reforms changed the Armed Forces? What triggered the reforms? To what degree have the objectives been met? What can the Armed Forces and other public sectors learn from such processes? What lessons can the Norwegian defence sector learn from similar processes in other countries?

For the programme's publications in English so far, please see:



Research projects

Reforms in the Norwegian Police and Armed forces 
The Armed forces and the Police have undergone major upheavals in the last three decades. But despite performing some of the oldest and most important functions of the state, these agencies have for the most part not been studied as part of the comprehensive reforms of the Norwegian public sector. These reforms have been contemporaneous and have to a large extent followed the same general goals and dynamics. Well-established professions have been challenged by an increasing degree of political control and bureaucratic management, and both the police and the armed forces have had to cope with rapid changes in their tasks and in society at large. 

Can the pace and substance of reforms be explained by factors specific to each agency, such as changes in the international relations or the growth of transnational crime, or are they more adequately explained by the changes in public management or society at large? The project is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and will be published as a PhD thesis in history at the University of Oslo. 
Point of contact: Magnus Håkenstad


Defence reform
The defence sector in Norway and other states has been subject to wide-reaching reforms over the last 20 years, but the results have varied. The defence sector as an organisation has, at the same time, evolved in step with changes in public sector and society at large. But the understanding of how defence organisations change in order to adapt to shifting circumstances has changed little.

The project addresses defence reform as a phenomenon, and analyses what factors facilitate and constrain processes of reform. Norway’s experiences with defence reform are compared with other states and sectors in order to contribute towards a better understanding of why some reform processes in contemporary society have more success than others.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Defence.
Contact: Per Martin Norheim-Martinsen




Published 09 January 2015 11:23.. Last updated 25 September 2017 09:43.