The Norwegian government will spend $7.4 billion on defence in 2013, an increase from 2012’s $52.5 million. This is in accordance with the priorities set out by the Long Term Plan for the Armed Forces that was passed in June of 2012. “This proves that the current government helps guarantee the continued development of modern and relevant Armed Forces for Norway. During 2013 we will continue to invest in training, readiness and new capabilities, all of which puts us on a solid footing for the future,” says Norwegian Minister of Defence, Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen. In 2013, Norway will focus on investing in the new Cyber Defence Force, increased funding for Military Intelligence. The Norwegian Armed Forces also intend to have helicopters on permanent stand-by. “Civilian authorities such as the Police will, and shall have primary responsibility for national resilience efforts, but in this important work everyone must pull together, and the Armed Forces and the wider Armed Forces sector will play their part,” says Minister of Defence Strøm-Erichsen. The F-35 program features prominently in the plan, comprising of investments in excess of USD 300 million (EUR 240 million/NOK 1.78 billion) in 2013 alone. Other major projects include new maritime helicopters for the Air Force, new armoured vehicles for the Army, as well as adaptations to the frigates and continued updates of the submarines for the Navy. “This budget allows us to move forward on ensuring that our Armed Forces are equipped to meet the challenges of the future. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to secure significant funding for the F-35 for 2013 that will allow us to move forward on our plans to receive the first aircraft already in 2015,” says Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen. The budget, introduced on Monday the 8th of October 2012, will now be subject to a debate in the Norwegian Parliament. Final passage of the budget is expected in December 2012.