Nordic officers in common appeal: The time toact is now!
The security is deteriorating in the Nordic region. At the same time our governments fail to react to the development. We, representatives of six military unions of four Nordic countries, want to reiterate what we said last year: The time to act is now.
One year ago we made a common statement concerning the will to fund the defence of the Nordic countries. That will has not increased since last year. We want to warn that our defence budgets are out of step with the continuously deteriorating security situation in Northern Europe.
The Russian challenge to our common values has continued. Constant readiness checks and military exercises, continue to increase the military status of Russia. Russia has also continued to increase its military presence in our region. Russia is a resurgent problem in our neighbourhood, but we must not loose sight of the fact that the world continues to be globalized and that conflicts in Mali, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan still affects us and our military forces need to be able to handle challenges both far away and at home.
All of our countries share a couple of trends that the politicians fail to address. The first issue, and most basic problem, is a lack of will to fund a defence that is on a level that the current situation requires. This effects both procurement of modern defence materiel, and the retention and recruitment of military personnel.
The trend in our countries are shrinking defence forces and increasing costs of modern materiel. Often the problem is solved by trying to decrease the number of military personnel and decreasing the level of salaries and benefits. This trend must stop and adequate funding must be secured.
Also there is a trend of replacing military personnel with civilian white collar workers, which risk to further decrease the armed forces ability to expand if need arise, and also to diminish the military knowledge within the armed forces.
In addition, there is a lower limit to how small a credible defence force can be. A force must be able to handle multiple challenges at the same time, must be able to handle losses, and still function.
For us to be able to protect our peoples, our democracy, and our nations, we need a realistic funding compared to the needs we all can se. The time to act is now!
Norges Offisersforbund – Torbjørn Bongo
Hovedorganisationen af Officerer i Danmark – Niels Henrik Tønning
Officersförbundet – Lars Fresker Befalets Fellesorganisasjon – Jens B Jahren
Upseeriliitto – Jari Rantala Päällystöliitto – Sakari Vuorenmaa
The members of the Nordic Officers’ association are six Nordic military trade unions. Chairmanship rotates between the four member countries Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Norway holds the chairmanship during the current year. For further comments contant chosen member of the association.