Commodore (Ret’d) Hans Christian Helseth

Senior Mentor

Commodore Hans Helseth was born in 1958 and joined the Royal Norwegian Navy in 1977. Upon completing the Naval Academy, he was assigned to the submarine service.

He took command of HNoMS Svenner (‘Kobben’-class) in 1985. In 1988-89, he was Teacher for the Norwegian Submarine Commanding Officer’s Qualifying Course.

Joining the Frigate Service as second-in-command in 1989, and following a further two years in command of submarines HNoMS Utstein and HNoMS Utvær (‘Ula’-class), he ended 14 years of uninterrupted sea duty commanding the frigate HNoMS Narvik, with the rank of Commander.

From 1995, Commodore Helseth studied at the German Command and Staff College (‘Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr’), graduating in 1997, and subsequently serving for a year as Head Instructor at the Norwegian Staff College in Oslo.

For the next three years, he was staff officer and branch chief in the planning department (‘J5’) at NATO Joint Command North in Stavanger. After attending the Defence College in Oslo in 2002, he was promoted Captain and took command of the Frigate Squadron. He held this post until 2006, simultaneously acting as Commander Norwegian Task Force in multiple NATO and national exercises. Back to NATO, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (‘DCOS OPS’) in Maritime Command Northwood, UK, as Commodore until 2010.

After a short period at the Norwegian Joint HQ, he was assigned to the Operations Division at International Military Staff (IMS) at NATO HQ in Brussels where he took up the position of branch chief for Afghanistan and later Deputy Director. In 2015, Commodore Helseth became the Special Advisor to the commander at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) in Stavanger. He retired at the end of 2017 from active military service.

Commodore Helseth has participated in a number of NATO operations including Sharp Guard (1995), Determined Guardian (1999), KFOR (2001), ISAF (Chief of Staff to NATO Senior Civilian Representative), and Ocean Shield (2009-2010). He has been awarded the corresponding national and NATO campaign medals. In addition to long service medals, he has two awards for historical research works. In 2015, he was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal by the Secretary General of NATO.

As a retired officer, Commodore Helseth has held engagements with JWC as a senior advisor for the Exercise Control organisation during the planning and execution of all JWC sponsored exercises. He has also an engagement with the Baltic Defence College in Tartu, Estonia, mainly in support of their Higher Command Studies Course, in addition to more ad-hoc tasks offered by military and civilian institutions. He is married to Ranveig Karlsen. His interests include hiking, biking, military history, and the social activities associated with a life in the Navy. Surprisingly, he has also become interested in gardening, not to mention beer brewing, all signs of a mature age.


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