January 1st, 2016, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) was established under the Ministry of Defence. NDMA is the authority for procurement to the armed forces and the current level of activity is about 200 different materiel projects. Procurement and maintenance of materiel amounts to about 30 % of the Norwegian defence budget. The new Agency counts some 1300 employees. About 60 % of them are civilians and the remaining 40 % military.
As pointed out by Transparency International defence procurement may include a considerable risk of corruption through, for example, conflict of interest, bribes, or other unethical behaviour. Two reasons for this are the amount of money involved and the traditional secrecy in security and defence. This is why high ethical standards are crucial, together with robust integrity systems, integrity plans that identify and correct weaknesses, and systematic training of personnel.
The Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector (CIDS) has now signed a support agreement with NDMA in order for CIDS to assist in the implementation of NDMA’s comprehensive integrity plan. Ms. Mette Sørfonden, Director of NDMA, signed the agreement on behalf of NDMA and Mr. Per Christensen, Director of CIDS, on behalf of CIDS. The MoD’s Armaments Director, Mr. Morten Tiller, attended the ceremony and stated that the agreement was important as seen from the MoD. The Norwegian MoD gives integrity and high ethical standards high priority and is pleased that CIDS, as a tool for the MoD, now brings its cooperation to support the Norwegian defence sector to a new level.
Even if Norway received a high score on Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015, there are still some weaknesses left and a need to systematically go through all risk factors. There is broad agreement that an integrity plan is the right tool to do so, and the MoD expects all Norwegian defence agencies, including the Armed forces, to continue pursuing that work with high priority.
The five components in NDMA’s integrity plan are partly a direct follow-up of the former program in the Norwegian defence sector called “Attitudes, Ethics, and Leadership”. CIDS will assist the NDMA in reaching 19 part objectives in the integrity plan.