Total defence is a collective term for Norway’s military defence and civilian emergency preparedness.
By the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency’s definition, the term implies mutual support and collaboration between civilian and military actors — to prevent, to plan for and to handle crises during peacetime, security policy crises, armed conflicts and war.
During the cold war, total defence was mainly about utilising the civilian society’s resources to support the military in times of crisis. This has changed since 1990. Now, the main idea is rather that the military’s resources and capacities should support the civilian society.
One key condition for a successful collaboration, is that everyone involved in emergency preparedness — be it in the voluntary, public or private sector — is familiar with one another, and knows how best to collaborate in handling future crises.
This is also the starting point for the latest issue of NATO’s ‘The Three Swords’ magazine, published by the Joint Warfare Centre. Norway’s total defence system is the main theme of this edition.
Among articles about the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, the Norwegian Cyber Defence Force and Norges Lotteforbund, OFFB is presented to the international public as a unique collaborative organisation.
The entire article is available here (external link): https://www.jwc.nato.int/application/files/8216/3280/9670/issue37_15.pdf
Full version of the magazine (external link): https://www.jwc.nato.int/newsroom/The-Three-Swords-Magazine/three-swords-37
More information about the total defence concept:
Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice and Public Security (2018): Support and cooperation. A description of the total defence in Norway. https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/5a9bd774183b4d548e33da101e7f7d43/stotte-og-samarbeid-en-beskrivelse-av-totalforsvaret-i-da.pdf
Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency (2016): Reportage about the total defence (in Norwegian only) https://www.dsb.no/reportasjearkiv/sammen-for-et-tryggere-norge/