The Norwegian Defence Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreideand the Chief of the Norwegian Navy, Rear Admiral Lars Saunes, were the main speakers.
They focused on the security policy, the military rationale and the operational effects for the Norwegian participation in the RIMPAC exercise. The participation is strengthening the transatlantic link, shows the Norwegian willingness for a more even burdensharing within NATO, supports NATO's "Connecting Forces Initiative" and promote interoperability between the participating forces. The magnitude of the exercise gives a unique opportunity to train all aspects of modern maritime warfare. That is not possible by operations only in Norwegian waters. You have to participate where the assets are available. That experience is valuable both for operations in Norwegian waters and for participation in international operations. HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen will conduct live firing of the Norwegian "Naval Strike Missile". That may have positive effects for the Norwegian Defence Industry.
A panel of experts made comments and participated in a questions and answers period. The experts were:
- Senior Associate Theresa Fallon from the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels
- Mr Michael C. Ryan, who is the Director Interagency Partnering Directorate at the US European Command in Stuttgart
- Associate Professor Øystein Tunsjø from IFS
- Brigadier General Blaine D. Holt who is Director of Logistics at the US European Command
- Colonel Per Erik Solli who is Senior Military Advisor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo.
The discussion focused inter alia on the rationale for the RIMPAC participation, how the Europeans best can take their share of the burden in NATO with US pivot to Asia, challenges in the South China Sea, how the crises in Ukraine influence the thinking on NATOs future in Brussels and in capitals.
Report by Jo Gade