onsdag 14. november 2012

Drone technology about to wake up the Norwegian government?

I have in previous articles claimed that the Norwegian government apparently has chosen to have no opinion about drones and drone technology, at least not in a military context. The Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen seemed to be taken by surprise when confronted with the fact a couple weeks back by a journalist that missiles tailored for drones were manufactured by Norwegian industry. She immediately took a defensive position and said that the Government was against drones (!). A somewhat peculiar statement from a minister who should know that Norwegian troops are actually using drones for reconnaissance and surveillance, and have had drones deployed in Afghanistan since many years. With great success too.

The fact that several allied countries, like USA and UK, are developing and using increasingly more drones, with capabilities that leave manned airborne systems behind cost-effective wise, and which - of course - save lives, has obviously softened the position of the Norwegian defense minister. Not least the last argument should be of great importance to the defense minister, who is repeatedly claiming that her greatest concern and focal point is the safety and security of Norwegian soldiers, wherever they operate. If someone could tell her that drones have probably saved a few lives in Afghanistan, her prejudiced view will probably change smoothly, as often is the case with politicians who don’t know much about the technicalities working on the lower echelons of the ‘empire’ they rule over.

In addition to safeguarding soldiers in the field, the finance aspect of using drones should be highlighted. Drones have already been given high credit by the Americans for what they have achieved in Afghanistan, and as we see more and more countries, especially allies in NATO, taking drones into defense and security thinking and planning, we shall probably see the Norwegian defense minister and the government wake up to a new reality, and take action accordingly.

Knut Nylænde is a Norwegian businessman who has built up Moxie AS, the successful investment company with investments in Norway and abroad. He is an active contributor to public discussions about a number of issues not at least in questions related to defense.