Norway will ask the United States to double the number of its troops stationed in the country and deploy them nearer the border with Russia, the government said Tuesday.
The announcement came after nine nations along NATO's eastern flank called Friday for the alliance to bolster its presence in their region.
Oslo will ask Washington to send 700 Marines from 2019, compared with 330 presently. The additional numbers will be based closer to the border with Russia in the Inner Troms region in the Norwegian Arctic, rather than in central Norway.
The rotation of forces will last for a five-year period compared with an initial posting that ran for six months from the start of 2017, and then was extended last June.
In addition the U.S. want to build infrastructure that could accommodate up to four U.S. fighter jets at a base 65 km (40 miles) south of Oslo, as part of a European deterrence initiative launched after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Norway said the expanded invitation was about NATO training and improving winter fighting capability.
"The defense of Norway depends on the support of our NATO allies, as is the case in most other NATO countries," said Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen in a statement.
"For this support to work in times of crises and war, we are are totally dependent on joint training and exercises in times of peace," he added.
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia had Friday called for NATO to discuss an increased military presence in their region at next month's leaders' summit in Brussels.
The group said it was necessary to supplement NATO's current ground forces "with aerial and naval components."
NATO beefed up defenses in central and eastern Europe in response to growing fears about Russia, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The Russian embassy in Oslo could not be contacted Tuesday for comment, but last year it criticized repeatedly the deployment of U.S. forces in Norway.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said that if the new deployment went ahead "there will still be a respectful distance with the Russian border."
"But we can't see any serious reason why Russia should react, even if we expect it will again this time since it always does about the allied exercises and training."
To ease Moscow's concerns, before becoming a founder member of NATO in 1949, Oslo gave a commitment not to station foreign troops on its soil unless it was under threat of attack.
The government says it still follows that commitment noting that the troop presence is not permanent but rotational.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.