Focus 2024

The Norwegian Intelligence Service’s assessment of current security challenges


  1. The Norwegian Intelligence Service’s annual report Focus is one of three Norwegian threat and risk assessments published during the first quarter of each year. The other two are published by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) and the Norwegian National Security Service (NSM).


    • THE NORWEGIAN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE (NIS) is Norway’s foreign intelligence service. Although subordinate to the Norwegian Chief of Defence, NIS does not concern itself exclusively with military matters. The main tasks of NIS are to warn of external threats to Norway and high-priority Norwegian interests, to support the Norwegian Armed Forces and the defence alliances Norway is part of, and to assist in political decision-making processes by providing information of significance to Norwegian foreign, security and defence policy. In the annual threat assessment Focus, NIS presents its analysis of the current situation and expected developments in geographic and thematic areas considered particularly relevant to Norwegian security and national interests.
    • THE NORWEGIAN POLICE SECURITY SERVICE (PST) is Norway’s domestic security service, subordinate to the Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security. PST is responsible for preventing and investigating crimes that threaten national security. It is the task of the service to identify and assess threats relating to intelligence, sabotage, the spreading of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and extremism. The assessments are meant to assist policy formulation and support political decision-making processes. PST’s annual threat assessment is a part of the service’s public outreach, explaining the expected development in the threat environment.
    • THE NORWEGIAN NATIONAL SECURITY AUTHORITY (NSM) is the Norwegian directorate responsible for national preventive security. The service’s main mission is to improve Norway’s ability to protect itself against espionage, sabotage, terrorism and complex threats. Through advice, oversight, inspections, testing and research, NSM helps businesses secure civilian and military information, systems, objects and infrastructure of importance to national security. NSM is responsible for a national warning system (VDI) that detects and warns of cyber operations against digital infrastructure. NSM also has a national responsibility to coordinate the handling of serious malicious cyber operations. NSM publishes an annual assessment of the national security risk environment. The report recommends measures and considers how vulnerabilities in Norwegian businesses and societal functions affect the risk environment in light of the threat environment outlined by the Norwegian Intelligence Service and the Norwegian Police Security Service.
  2. Nils Andreas Stensønes Fokus

    Today, we face a more dangerous security situation than we did a year ago, and the development ahead is uncertain. The conflicts of interest between authoritarian states and the West are becoming more apparent. Russian and Chinese authorities share an ambition to undercut the influence of the West and to establish an international order in which liberal values such as democracy and freedom of speech do not set the course. Cooperation between authoritarian states is increasing. International rule of law is weakened, and the world is re-arming.

    Russia considers the war in Ukraine a proxy war with the West, and Moscow is not abandoning its goal of crushing the Ukrainian armed forces and securing control of the country. With increased production of arms, improved access to personnel and considerable support from other authoritarian states, Russia is gaining ground on Ukraine. Ukraine continues to show tremendous fighting spirit, but the country relies on Western support to defend itself and retake the initiative.

    The war between Israel and Hamas has considerable radicalisation potential and raises the terrorist threat in Europe. Both IS and al-Qaeda have called for attacks against Israeli targets, and IS has made several attempts to carry out attacks in Europe. Trigger incidents could raise the terrorist threat to Norway as well.

    How these and other security-related concerns develop depends not only on the threat environment that we describe, but also on how the West chooses to react. Many countries are to hold elections this year. Security policy tensions and economic uncertainty are deepening political divides in Western countries as well.

    The main mission of the Norwegian Intelligence Service is to warn against threats to Norway and Norwegian interests. Focus is the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s annual unclassified threat assessment and must be read in conjunction with other perspectives. Our priority is to describe adversarial actors and developments that we consider important to Norway’s security in the coming year. Focus 2024 is the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s 14th annual unclassified assessment, and we hope it will inspire public debate.

    Nils Andreas Stensønes
    Vice Admiral
    Director Norwegian Intelligence Service

    Editing concluded on 26 January 2024

A changed security situation

Chapter 1

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Russia’s permanent break with the West

Chapter 2

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China’s global ambitions

Chapter 3

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Arms race picks up pace

Chapter 4

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Middle Eastern reconciliation processes on hold

Chapter 5

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The terrorist threat to Europe

Chapter 6

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