Op-Ed: An Extraordinary Year of U.S.-Norwegian Cooperation
This op-ed was published by the newspaper VG in Norwegian online and in print on August 25, 2023
By Marc Nathanson, U.S. Ambassador to Norway
Returning from the summer holidays after my first year as U.S. Ambassador to Norway, I am proud to look back on a period of extraordinarily intense and productive cooperation between our two nations. As close partners and NATO Allies, the United States and Norway will continue defending our shared values, safeguard the Arctic, and ensure energy security while managing climate change.
The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford’s visit to Oslo in May symbolized the special friendship between the United States and Norway. I was touched by the enthusiasm with which Norwegians made our sailors feel welcome. They will never forget it.
As Norwegian commentators noted at the time, there was a serious backdrop to USS Gerald R. Ford’s visit. The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine presents us with the greatest security challenge since the end of the Second World War. Norway, the United States, our NATO Allies, and partners continue to support Ukraine. The United States and Norway are also adapting to a new security situation in Europe. While doing so, NATO is more united than ever. We are thrilled that Finland and Sweden are joining NATO.
The United States commends Norway for allocating more than NOK 25 billion in humanitarian, defensive, and other support to Ukraine, and for being one of the first nations to pledge multiyear support through the five-year NOK 75 billion “Nansen” program.
We also commend Norway for taking steps to further strengthen its Armed Forces. All NATO allies agree that increased defense investment spending is necessary to ensure our security, stability, and prosperity into the future. I personally applaud the professionalism of the Norwegian Armed Forces as they continue to develop and embrace new technologies. The United States believes the Norwegian Armed Forces and their leadership are among the most competent in the world.
In the past year the United States and Norway have further deepened our bilateral defense cooperation. The U.S.-Norway Supplementary Defense Cooperation Agreement (SDCA) was formalized last summer and will facilitate expanded U.S. military training in Norway. This February, the State of Minnesota and Norway concluded a State Partnership Program, which will create additional avenues for defense collaboration. I was delighted to sign that agreement and attend the ceremony in Trondheim with Her Majesty Queen Sonja, General Eirik Kristoffersen, and other dignitaries.
Ensuring stability, prosperity, and environmental sustainability in the Arctic region is a key priority for Norway as well as for the United States. We are both proud Arctic nations and we take our stewardship responsibilities seriously. That is why Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in Oslo this May that we will open a new American Presence Post in Tromsø later this year. The new office will further enhance our cooperation with Norway on addressing the climate crisis, investing in sustainable development, and managing strategic competition in the region. Above all, we will be there to learn about the Norwegian High North and exchange experiences.
In the past year, both the United States and Norway stepped up to ensure European energy security and I am incredibly proud of both our nations to ensure access to oil and gas while we both look to the future and the green energy transition.
As the Biden Administration is implementing the most ambitious U.S. policy agenda ever to address the climate crisis, we look to Norway as a key partner. Norwegian businesses and research communities are at the forefront of developing new technologies to accelerate the green transition. Norway will play an important role in enhancing supply chain security for critical minerals needed in green industries. I look forward to continuing close cooperation with our Norwegian colleagues to tackle the existential crisis that the world faces. I could not think of a better partner to do this with.
This cooperation is based on a rock-solid foundation of shared values and personal ties which in my case go back seven decades. Whenever my wife Jane and I meet Norwegians – be it students at high school or universities, artists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, government officials, walking in the Oslo Pride Parade, or buying a hot dog in Tromsø – we hear stories of inspiring connections between people in our two countries. We now look forward to continuing our exciting journey with Norway.