Monday, October 17, 2016

Marines May Base 300-Man Rotational Force in Norway |

Marines May Base 300-Man Rotational Force in Norway | As European allies watch Russian aggression in Europe with concern, the Norwegian government is considering allowing a small contingent of U.S. Marines to be based in the country to facilitate better military cooperation and be at the ready in the event of a crisis, has learned.

The force under consideration is small, about 300 Marines, a defense official said.

Pending the approval of the Norwegian government, the Marines would deploy in a six-month rotation, with additional rotations to follow if approved, the official said.

It's too early to say whether the rotation would be similar to the Marines' crisis response task forces for Africa and the Middle East, or more like the Corps' unit deployment program, which sends Marines forward to Japan for six-month rotations, primarily for training and partnership exercises.

The Norwegian newspaper Adresseavisen reported that the Vaernes air station in Stjordal, Norway, is being considered to house the Marines. The air station also serves as part of Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway, a program that allows the Corps to store thousands of vehicles and other major pieces of gear in temperature-controlled caves, at the ready for joint exercises or a major European combat contingency.

The base, located in central Norway, is about 1,000 miles away from Russia, with which Norway shares a border about 120 miles long at its northeastern limit.