Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps announced Thursday that it is ending continuous troop rotations to Norway, where hundreds of troops have been deployed for the last three years.
The Marine Corps will continue to conduct periodic training and exercises with the Norwegian military, but will not keep Marines stationed in the country on six-month rotations, said Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a spokesman for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe-Africa.
"Effective October 2020, U.S. Marines will shift to an episodic deployment model in order to better synchronize their arctic training with Norwegian forces and to allow for increased operational flexibility for the Marine Corps," Rankine-Galloway said.
Maj. Gen. Lars Lervik, chief of the Norwegian army, also said the two countries would continue to collaborate on training.
The current rotation will end in late October, but according to Norway's armed forces, personnel from both militaries are expected to take part in large numbers in cold weather drills this winter.
Currently there are up to 700 U.S. troops deployed at any given at a time in the country. The continuous deployment program was part of an effort to counter threats from Russia.
Rankine-Galloway said the change is not related to plans to reduce the number of American troops in Germany and should not be characterized as a drawdown.
"We are not drawing down and, at times, will have a greater number of Marines here than before, within the terms of the agreement between the United States and Norway," Rankine-Galloway said.
According to Rankine-Galloway, there will be roughly 400 Marines in Norway from mid-October through December, followed by a second deployment of about 1,000 Marines from January 2021 through March 2021.