Security and Defence in Northern Europe (SNE)

The core topic of the research programme Security and Defence in Northern Europe (SNE) is security and defence cooperation in the region.

The security situation in Northern Europe has in recent years become more challenging and unpredictable. Traditional and unconventional threats combined with increased pressure on national defence budgets make cooperation among allies, partners and neighbours increasingly important. 

Closer cooperation through bilateral agreements and in the framework of multilateral institutions and regional groupings contributes to strengthen national and collective defence capabilities. However, multinational cooperation also poses a range of challenges, from the practical to the political, and raises dilemmas with regard to national sovereignty and allied cohesion.

SNE is a multi-year research programme (April 2013–December 2018) that explores drivers, opportunities and constraints for security and defence cooperation in Northern Europe. Its main purpose is to contribute insights on developments in security and cooperation patterns in the region, through research projects, collaboration with international partners and seminars.  

Programme partners in the period 2017–2018 are 

  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) 
  • German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). 

Current thematic priorities 

  1. Security and defence cooperation on NATO's northern maritime flank.
  2. Strategies of and approaches to deterrence and collective defence.

The SNE programme organises seminars, conferences and workshops with subject matter experts and decision makers, and publish research-based studies, analyses and comments.


From IFS

From partner institutions

Robin Allers, IFS
Norwegian and German security policy
EU and NATO i Northern Europe
Heather Conley, CSIS
Security policy in USA, NATO and the Arctic
Ida Maria Oma, IFS
Norwegian defence and security policy 
Norway and regional defence cooperation

Jeffrey Rathke, CSIS 
NATO, US and European security policy​​
Rolf TamnesIFS

Norwegian defence and security policy
USA and NATO in Northern Europe

Peter Roberts, RUSI

Christian Mölling, DGAP

 Programme funding: Norwegian Ministry of Defence

 Latest publications from contributors to SNE



Saxi, Håkon L.. 2017. «British and German initiatives for defence cooperation: the Joint Expeditionary Force and the Framework Nations Concept». Defence Studies, 5 AprilSaxi, Håkon L.. 2017. «British and German initiatives for defence cooperation: the Joint Expeditionary Force and the Framework Nations Concept». Defence Studies, 5 April<p>​​At NATO's 2014 Wales Summit, the UK and Germany unveiled two new initiatives for European defence cooperation, known, respectively, as the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) and the Framework Nations Concept (FNC). Both were the result of economic pressures and the need to exercise intra-alliance leadership, but they represented very different approaches to cooperation. </p><p>The JEF was to be a UK-led contingency force for short-notice operations, selectively incorporating forces from allies and partners. </p><p>The FNC sought to coordinate capability development between groups of allies, centred on larger framework nations, to develop coherent capability-clusters available to meet NATO's force requirements. </p><p>The common denominator and novelty of the initiatives was the building of forces and capabilities multinationally by having major states act as framework nations for groups of smaller allies. The UK and Germany have ownership and continue to provide leadership to these initiatives. This is one key reason why they continue to evolve to accommodate changing circumstances and are likely to endure.</p><p></p><p><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;color:#333333;background:white;"><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/dsKpmmer7mCrcHQSGP7C/full" target="_blank">Download the article from ​Taylor & Frances website</a></span></p><p><span style="font-size:10pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;color:#333333;background:white;">Hvis du mangler tilgang: kontakt Forsvarets høgskolens bibliotek:<span class="apple-converted-space"> </span></span><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;color:#333333;background:white;"><a href="mailto:bibl@fhs.mil.no"><span style="font-size:10pt;color:#877040;">bibl@fhs.mil.no</span></a></span><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:arial, sans-serif;color:#333333;background:white;">​</span>​<br></p>
Allers, Robin. 2017. "Modern deterrence? NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence on the eastern flank". In NATO and Collective Defence in the 21st Century, edited by Karsten Friis. RoutledgeAllers, Robin. 2017. "Modern deterrence? NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence on the eastern flank". In NATO and Collective Defence in the 21st Century, edited by Karsten Friis. Routledge<p>​​​​This book presents a cutting-edge assessment of NATO's collective defence strategies in the immediate aftermath of the July 2016 NATO Warsaw Summit.</p><p>Collective defence and deterrence came back on the agenda at the 2014 Wales Summit following the Russian annexation of Crimea, and was in many respects a game changer for NATO. The Warsaw Summit was a follow-up and operationalization of the Wales Summit, as well as adding further initiatives to the agenda. But is NATO delivering? </p><p>This book provides a thorough assessment of the on-going debates and discussions taking place within and outside of NATO in Europe and North America. In its return to deterrence, NATO is confronted with challenges relating to strategic thinking, capability development, and the role of nuclear weapons. It has also raised questions about the future prospects for NATO membership for countries such as Sweden and Finland, with broader implications for the security situation in the Baltic region. Central to all this is of course NATO's relationship with Russia and questions of a new security dilemma, in turning bringing to the fore the challenge of maintaining an appropriate balance between deterrence and dialogue. </p><p>The chapters in this volume address these questions and provide a much-needed analysis of the results of the NATO Warsaw Summit.</p><p><a href="https://www.routledge.com/NATO-and-Collective-Defence-in-the-21st-Century-An-Assessment-of-the-Warsaw/Friis/p/book/9780415786294" target="_blank">To learn more about the book, go to t​​he Routledge website.</a></p>
Østhagen, Andreas. 2016. "High North, Low Politics. Maritime Cooperation with Russia in the Arctic". Arctic Review on Law and Politics 7(1). Open accessØsthagen, Andreas. 2016. "High North, Low Politics. Maritime Cooperation with Russia in the Arctic". Arctic Review on Law and Politics 7(1). Open access<p>​​​Maritime activity is increasing in the Arctic. So is bilateral cooperation across maritime borders <span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">between coast guards intent on protecting natural resources, saving lives and assisting navigation.</span></p><p>As tensions rose between Russia and the West in 2014, due to the conflict in Ukraine, coast guard <span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">cooperation in the Bering and Barents Seas was unaffected. Why? How did the respective bilateral </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">cooperative structures between Norway/the United States and Russia develop, and why were they </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">deemed ''too vital to cancel'' in the aftermath of events in Ukraine? </span></p><p><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">This article examines how the </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">respective states have developed cooperative regimes since the 1970s, and subsequently how these </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">regimes have come to constitute the backbone of bilateral management of these vast and invaluable </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">maritime domains. The argument made is that the specific character of coast guards and their role </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">as stewards of the sea separate them from other military structures, making bilateral cooperation </span><span style="font-size:1rem;line-height:1.625;">not only valuable, but indispensable, to the management of the states' maritime sovereignty.</span></p><p><a href="https://arcticreview.no/index.php/arctic/article/view/255/794">To read the article, please go to the website of the Arctic Review on Law and Politics​</a> This is an open access article. </p>

Published 27 January 2015 15:45.. Last updated 23 June 2017 12:12.