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The Armed Forces’ operational capability reduced - Document no. 3:6 (2008-2009)

The Norwegian Armed Forces' overall operational capability has been reduced during the period 2005 to 2008. The defence sector has not implemented the adopted structure during the period because of material deficiencies relating to materiel, personnel and exercises. The capacity of the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) is insufficient to meet the needs of the branches of the Armed Forces for supplies and maintenance. ‘Reduced operational capability means that the Armed Forces are less capable of carrying out their assigned tasks,’ says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 1/23/2009 1:50 PM

This is the main conclusion in The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into restructuring in the defence sector. Document No 3:6 (2008-2009), was submitted to the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, on 20 January 2009.

The Norwegian Armed Forces have not achieved the main goal for the restructuring of the defence sector during the period 2005 to 2008, namely to improve operational capability. Work on restructuring started in 2002, and it has been one of the most extensive restructuring processes in the state sector in Norway.

The Office of the Auditor General finds that the structure adopted for the period 2005 to 2008 has not been established as intended. There are material deficiencies relating to the phasing in and maintenance of materiel. Exercises have been reduced or cancelled and the Armed Forces lack important expertise. For both 2007 and 2008, the Chief of Defence Norway reported too low training activity in the Norwegian Army, Navy, Air Force and Home Guard. Major delays were found in the Navy in particular relating to new materiel, for example helicopters and ship-to-ship missiles for use by Navy vessels.

NDLO’s deliveries to the branches of the Armed Forces are an essential precondition for the branches of the Armed Forces’ ability to carry out their assigned tasks. The investigation shows that NDLO has insufficient capacity in maintenance and supplies, among other areas. NDLO has therefore not succeeded in contributing sufficiently to the development and support of the branches of the Armed Forces.

For the period 2005 to 2008, it was a goal to reduce expenditure on operations and to increase investments in materiel. The investigation shows, however, that, at the end of 2008, the level of spending on operations was higher and the level of investments in materiel lower than planned.

During the years 2005 to 2007, the defence sector’s investments in materiel have not been in accordance with the allocations made by the Storting. This has had consequences for the availability of materiel in the Armed Forces.

‘I wish to emphasise the importance of improving long-term planning in connection with major investment projects in order to ensure that investments in materiel are implemented in accordance with the expectations of the Storting. Nor has the defence sector been allocated the funds on which the plans for both periods were based. This has also had consequences for the restructuring of the defence sector,’ says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.

The Ministry of Defence agrees that the adopted structure has not been established as intended and that there are challenges relating to NDLO’s deliveries, but it states that operational capability is at the level presumed by the Storting in several areas. The Ministry acknowledges that operating expenses have been higher and investments in materiel lower than expected during the period 2005 to 2008.

 

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