The US National Guard visits NTNU’s research centres

In February, 100 American soldiers comes to Trøndelag to carry out a two-week training and experience programme. A group of officers has also visited the research environments at NTNU.

Rector Anne Borg speaks in front of the guests
Rector Anne Borg welcomes the guests and gives a presentation of NTNU. Photo: Lars Bugge Aarset/NTNU

The visit is part of the NOREX exchange between the US National Guard in Minnesota and the Home Guard in Norway. The exchange celebrates it’s 50 years anniversary in 2023.

As part of the exchange, a group of the officers carry out a separate programme, a Senior Training Contingent – STC, to get to know Norwegian defence, business, society and culture in Norway and Trøndelag. This year the STC group also visited NTNU.

– The purpose of the visit is to show some of the good cooperation we have between industry, research environments and defense in Trøndelag, says Ebbe Deraas, colonel (p) and defense coordinator at Proneo.

The officers were introduced to NTNU’s research into both cyber security and artificial intelligence – AI, advanced geophysical monitoring of the globe, as well as large language models as ChatGPT and NTNUs research programme in small satellite technology.

Shelling of concrete with projectiles

In addition, they were able to visit the laboratory of SIMLab/SFI CASA. The research there is about understanding how materials and structures react to impacts and other extreme loads. SFI CASA which demonstrated the shelling of concrete with projectiles to investigate how materials and structures react to impacts and other extreme loads.

The purpose is to ensure maximum protection against bullets and explosive loads, as well as to protect buildings against missiles. SFI CASA works closely with both the real estate agency of Norwegian armed forces – Forsvarsbygg, and Norwegian Defense Research Institute – FFI.

In addition to the laboratories at NTNU, the Americans also visited SINTEF Digital, Innovation Norway, the farming company Revsnes Sesalmon in Stoksund, the security company Falck Nutec and the technology company Maritime Robotics which develops unmanned vehicles for both air and sea.

– This is an official visit and is important for Norwegian/American cooperation, says Deraas.

During the two-week stay In Norway, the group will also visit the Minister of Defence, the Norwegian Armed Forces’ Operational Headquarters and various military departments, as well as businesses such as Kongsberg and Nammo.

NOREX exchange 50 years

Every year, soldiers from the Home Guard’s task forces and HV youth go to Minnesota in the USA to learn from the US National Guard. At the same time, American soldiers come to Norway to learn how to survive in Norwegian nature. The NOREX exchange (Norwegian exchange) between the Home Guard and the National Guard at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, USA, has been going on since the first exchange in 1974 and this year the exchange celebrates it’s 50 years anniversary.

The purpose of the exchange is to strengthen the already close political and military contact between the Norwegian Home Guard and the Minnesota National Guard.

The Norwegian NOREX contingent used to consist of around 100 soldiers, divided between task force soldiers and HV youth from all over Norway. At the same time, around 100 National Guard soldiers are coming to HV-12 at Værnes in Norway. NOREX contributes to maintaining the close cooperation between the USA and Norway and to taking care of our shared history.

The group from the Minnesota National Guard consisted of Colonel Jason P. Benson Commander, 175th Regiment, Colonel Jesse R. Carlson is Commander, 133rd Operations Group and an Evaluator Navigator for the 133rd Airlift Wing, Colonel Brian G. Malecha G6, Joint Forces Headquarters and Sergeant Major George R. Jensen, Minnesota National Guard’s Asst Adjutant General.