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Object security not sufficiently improved since 2015

​Better object security was one of the key points in the follow-up to the 22 July 2011 terror attacks. The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of object security follow-up shows that object security has not improved to a sufficient extent since the Office of the Auditor General’s previous investigation in 2015. “It must be taken very seriously that the inadequacies in the basic security of the sensitive objects in the police and the Armed Forces still do not comply with the requirements of the Security Act”, says Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss.

Published 6/5/2018 1:00 PM

​Document 3:11 (2017–2018) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of object security follow-up was submitted to the Storting on 5 June. Document 3 and chapters 1–3 of the audit report were submitted as unclassified, while chapters 4–9 were submitted as classified in accordance with the Security Act §§ 11 and 12, cf. Freedom of Information Act § 13. “I would like to thank the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security for their cooperation in the development of an unclassified Document 3 for the Storting”, says Foss.

Basic security

Basic security refers to security measures which are planned, implemented and maintained in order to protect sensitive objects according to the Security Act. The regulations on object security went into effect on 1 January 2011 and contained the following transitional provisions for implementation:

  • First-time assessment of security classification was to take place by 1 January 2013.
  • The implementation of security measures based on assessed security classification was to take place by 1 January 2014, but could be postponed to 1 January 2015 with permission from the National Security Authority.

As of 31 December 2017, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security still has not ensured that the basic security of the sensitive objects complies with the requirements of the Security Act and the regulations on object security. There remains a significant amount of work to be done before all the sensitive objects are secured in accordance with the requirements. The Ministry has, to a small extent, provided an overall plan for the establishment of permanent basic security for the sensitive objects in the police. There are somewhat concrete plans for compensatory measures until sufficient basic security has been put into place.

“It is very serious that the basic security of sensitive objects is not prioritised by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. Inadequate basic security can cause important and critical societal functions of the police to collapse during unexpected events. This can have serious consequences for national crisis management and preparedness”, Foss points out.

The basic security of the sensitive objects in the Armed Forces is also not in accordance with the regulations. The Office of the Auditor General takes a positive view of the fact that in November 2016 the Ministry of Defence initiated the project “The entire country — safeguarding of sensitive objects” in order to establish a documented basis for improving the situation. However, this basic security will be in place at the earliest 10 years after the deadline set by the Storting.

“It is very serious that the Ministry of Defence has not done enough to improve the basic security of the sensitive objects in the Armed Forces”, says Foss.

Security forces

Security forces are persons and entities from the police or the Armed Forces who are tasked with protecting an object against a possible or concrete threat.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the Ministry of Defence have improved the follow-up of the police’s and the Armed Forces’ use of security forces. However, the investigation shows deficiencies in the Armed Forces’ process of identifying civilian key objects and the Home Guard’s operational ability, insufficient analyses and clarity of the police’s and the Home Guard’s capacity to safeguard and protect objects using security forces, and that the object security instructions appear to be unclear.

“It is very serious that there are still significant challenges in this area three years after the previous investigation. Much work remains before the Storting’s decisions are fulfilled. Insufficient clarification of the police’s and the Armed Forces’ capacity means that there is still a risk that the police and the Home Guard will not be able to safeguard and protect objects using security forces”, says Auditor General Foss.

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