Norway is considering a Pentagon request to host a small rotational force of Marines, officials from both countries said on Monday.
The move comes as U.S. and Russia relations continue their downward spiral toward an antagonism reminiscent of the Cold War.
Norway's defense ministry is currently reviewing the request for a contingent of Marines that would rotate through the Scandinavian country, said a spokesman for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe & Africa declined to discuss how many Marines would head to Norway or how long the rotations would last, adding that the Norwegian government must approve the idea before plans could be released.
But he said the deployments would provide an opportunity for the Norwegian Armed Forces and the Marine Corps to train hand-in-hand.
"Having a rotational presence in Norway enhances the collective ability of our two forces to work together," Nelson said.
MARFOREUR submitted the request to the Norwegian government via U.S. European Command, said command spokesman Maj. Richard Ulsh.
"Regardless of their decision, we will continue to enjoy a close relationship with the Norwegian Armed Forces," Nelson said.
Military.com first reportedon Oct. 14 that the U.S. would like to send a force of roughly 300 Marines to Norway on six-month rotations.
"We have a long and close relationship with our friends in the Norwegian Armed Forces, and a limited rotational Marine force in Norway is a possibility under consideration as a further development of this relationship," said Navy Cmdr. Sarah Higgins, a Defense Department spokeswoman.
Earlier this year, members of the 2
Marine Expeditionary Brigade trained in Norway as part of the largest winter exercise since the Cold War. A total of 16,000 troops from 12 countries took part in Exercise Cold Response.
After Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the U.S. began rotating more troops through NATO allies that border Russia. Relations between the U.S. and Russia have worsened since then, with both countries backing different sides in Syria’s civil war.
Most recently, the Obama administration has accused Russia of hacking and leaking Democratic National Committee emails in an attempt to sway the presidential election in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump. Vice President Joe Biden warned on Oct. 14 that the U.S. may stage a cyber counter attack against Russia.
While the U.S. is still ready to work with Russia on national security issue, the U.S. government will be frank with Russia on areas where the two countries disagree, including the future of Ukraine, State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.
"We will continue to impose costs on Russia for its violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, to push for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, and to raise with Russia those areas where we believe it is playing a detrimental role," Toner said Monday in a statement. "We will also continue to express our concerns when the Russian government fails to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Neither the Royal Norwegian Embassy nor the Defense Department provided a time line for a decision or a deployment.