Rumsfeld Signs Pre-positioning Agreement With Norway
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
STAVANGER, Norway, June 8, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his Norwegian counterpart today signed an agreement here to allow U.S. Marines to pre-position military equipment in Norway for use should they ever have to come to this country's aid.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Norway's Minister of Defense, Kristin Krohn Devold sign a Memorandum of Understanding for pre-positioning U.S. Marine Corps. equipment in Norway during a meeting and press conference at the Joint Warfare Center in Stavanger Sola Air Station, Norway, June 8. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The memorandum of understanding Rumsfeld and Norwegian Defense Minister Kristin Krohn Devold signed today revises an existing agreement, in place since 1981, that provided for an expeditionary brigade's worth of equipment to be stored at Trondelag, Norway, as part of the U.S. plan to reinforce Norway's defenses during the Soviet era.
The new agreement, called the Marine Corps Pre-positioning Program Norway, more accurately reflects the current regional security environment, according to a joint statement issued by the two officials after a meeting this morning.
In a joint news conference following a formal signing ceremony, Krohn Devold said the agreement is important to Norway's security in three main ways: It allows the United States to help defend Norway, enables combined training with U.S. Marine and Norwegian ground forces, and makes the equipment available in a tactical location in Europe should it be needed for a NATO mission.
Facilitating U.S. support in protecting Norway "is definitely valuable for Norway as a small country, (in) that our most important ally is willing to come here and assist us with pre-positioned equipment," Krohn Devold said.
Combined training is important because military forces from many countries work together in missions abroad. "If you have never trained together, it's difficult to operate together," the minister said. "And when the equipment is here, it's easier also to train and exercise together."
Rumsfeld arrived in Stavanger June 7, the 100th anniversary of Norway's independence from Sweden. Krohn Devold hosted the secretary aboard the Norwegian Coast Guard ship KV Harstad for a dinner cruise in Lysefjord, one of Norway's many intricate coastal waterways.
During today's news conference, Rumsfeld congratulated the Norwegian people on the anniversary of their independence and thanked the minister for "a chance to see a breathtakingly beautiful country."
Stavanger, in southwest Norway, has traditionally been a center for fisheries and shipbuilding. When oil exploration of the North Sea began in the mid-1960s, Stavanger provided necessary shore support and consequently was established as the oil capital of Norway.
Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, Norway experiences long daylight during the summer. Stavanger is far enough north that Rumsfeld was able to take a driving tour of the city in daylight at about 10 p.m. "You have a lovely city here," he said during today's news conference.