NATO Commanders met in Finnmark

The Commanders of NATO’s Joint Force Commands in Brunssum and Norfolk got a close encounter with the Alliance’s north-eastern flank.

Finnmark, Norway makes up NATO’s north-eastern flank and shares a 198 km (123 mi) long border with Russia. This border is patrolled and guarded by the Norwegian Border Guards of the Garrison of Sør-Varanger (GSV). The Border Guard is part of the Norwegian Armed Forces, and is an important contributor to situational awareness and control of NATO territory.

Insight of the situation

On Sunday 20 March, the Norwegian Joint Headquarters invited the Commanders of NATO’s two Joint Force Commands for a field trip along the border in Finnmark. The goal was to provide the two commanders with valuable insight of the historic and present situation of Norwegian–Russian relations in the region.

General Jörg Vollmer (Commander of JFC Brunssum) and Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer (Commander of JFC Norfolk) were impressed by both the scenery and Norway’s ability to balance deterrence and reassurance with neighbouring Russia.

Snowmobiles along the border

As host, Lieutenant General Yngve Odlo, Commander of the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, took the top NATO commanders on snowmobiles along the Norway–Russia border. During the field trip, the Commanders visited one of the Norwegian observation posts, and were briefed by the soldiers at the post. The border is constantly patrolled by Norwegian soldiers, of whom many are conscripts.

In addition to monitoring the border, the Garrison also support the Norwegian Border Commissioner in following up on the bilateral agreements between Norway and Russia. The Garrison also cooperates closely with other civil authorities like the Police Chief of Finnmark. During their visit, General Vollmer and Vice Admiral Dwyer also met with the Police Chief and the Border Commissioner.

The Commanders together with Finnnmark Police Chief, Ellen Katrinne Hætta (in the middle), and commanders of the GSV (left). They are standing at a monument in Norway, simulating the three-country border point between Norway, Russia,and Finland. Runar Røssevold, Norwegian Armed Forces