In 2003 the Norwegian government introduced Integrated Strategic Leadership (ISL). The Chief of Defence and his military/strategic functions is now integrated within the Ministry of Defence in an attempt to strengthen the Ministry’s collective abilities in strategic planning, leadership and control of the Norwegian armed forces. ISL has since the beginning been widely discussed, and the most prominent critiques are based on a concern that this ‘political-military matrimony’ challenge the Chief of Defence’s professional autonomy and reduces him to a mouthpiece for political representatives.
The primary objective of this thesis is to assess the Chief of Defence’s influence on long-term defence planning (LTDP) for the Norwegian armed forces, and in particular to analyze whether the extent of this influence appears to have changed after the establishment of Integrated Strategic Leadership. In a comparative case study of the two last processes of long-term defence planning the thesis studies - through a qualitative document analysis - the extent to which the Chief of Defence’s professional military recommendations for the developments of the Norwegian armed forces, were followed by the Norwegian government in the two subsequent governmental propositions.
The analysis of the documents illustrates that Integrated Strategic Leadership appears to have had limited impact on the extent of the Chief of Defence’s influence on the LTDP-process. It further shows how both the long-term defence planning process - before and after the establishment of ISL - was characterized by relatively strong political control. The central argument of the thesis is that the perceived strong governmental control of the two LTDP-processes may be understood in relation to the significant restructurings of the Norwegian armed forces and its strengthened importance as an instrument of foreign policy - rather than as a consequence of the establishment of Integrated Strategic Leadership per se.