Norway is currently the only Western European state and ‘old’ NATO member that strongly relies on the traditional dimension of NATO's collective defence. It is also the only ally in Western Europe which perceives Russia as a threat to its military security, in the so-called High North.
In order to successfully deal with the potential challenges and threats in the region, Norway has been pursuing a defence policy based on cooperation and deterrence. Cooperation means improving collaboration with Russia in cross-border relations, in the petroleum sector and in the military sphere. The deterrent measures include maintaining NATO’s credibility as a collective defence alliance; increasing military cooperation with the United States; building up Norway’s own military capabilities; and developing military cooperation across Northern Europe.
The primary objective of Oslo’s defence policy is to minimise the likelihood of crises and conflicts emerging in the High North which could prove too ‘big’ for Norway but too ‘small’ for NATO.