Lars Saunes

Professor and Distinguished International Fellow International Programs
Rear Adm., Norway, Retired
Lars Saunes Profile Image


Rear Admiral (ret.) Lars Saunes was born in Alesund Norway. He retired from the Navy from the position as Chief of Royal Norwegian Navy August 2017 and is now CNO Distinguished international fellow at the USNWC. He is a Submariner by trade and has held different command position on Kobben and Ula class submarines. He has been the commander of the Norwegian task group, Chief Naval operations at joint HQ, Commander submarine operating authority, Commandant and commander of the Norwegian Coast guard as well as Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy. He has served as the head naval section of the Norwegian defense high command/join and the Norwegian defense research Institute.

Professional Highlights


U.S. Naval War College

He presently serves as Professor at US Naval War College as CNO Distinguished International fellow where he is the co-lead for Newport Arctic Scholars initiative.

Rear Admiral, Chief of Royal Norwegian Navy

As part of the new security environment in Europe the Navy was organized to meet the challenges Norway faced as a maritime nd arctic nation with global maritime interests. The Navy was transformed to meet the requirements of a standing Navy with a motto “in operations or preparing for operations”. He shifted manning from shore duties to man all the ships and increased the level of maintaining and training the combat units throughout the Fleet. To ensure war fighting standard, high end certification was conducted in partnerships with allies like Flag officer sea training UK.

Commodore, Commandant and Commander Norwegian Coast Guard

As Commandant of the Coast Guard he was tasked to establish a new Coat Guard HQ and take the tactical command of all Coast Guard operations as Commander of the Coast Guard.

Chief of naval operations, National Joint HQ Norway

For five years he served as J3 head Navy and J3 at the national operational level. He was responsible for running all naval operations including submarine, Coast guard as well as Sea home Guard operations. During this period he contributed to national defense planning and reorganizing the operational level leadership of national military operations.

Captain(N), Chief of Staff Norwegian Fleet

During his assignment as Chief of staff Norwegian Fleet and Commander Norwegian task group he was part of reorganizing the fleet from a war mobilization train and equip to a standing force with high readiness.

Commander (senior grade)

Submarine officer and functional Submarine operating Authority at National Command North. For three years he developed integrated submarine operations and partnership with key allies on the NATO Northern flank. From 1996 he became Submarine exercise planner at Commander Submarines East Atlantic, NATO HQ, Northwood, UK.

Lieutenant Commander

Commanding officer on several Norwegian Kbben and Ula Class submarines; HNOMS Utsira (kobben cl), HNOMS Uthaug (Ula cl) and HNOMS Uredd(ula cl) During his command on HBOMS Uredd he was responsible for developing submarine tactics and operational evaluation of the Ula Class. He became the first Commanding officer for the Norwegian Command qualifying course for the new class.


Graduate from the Royal Norwegian Naval academy. Commission as lieutenant started his naval career as a professional submariner in 1984. Department head and Xo on several Kobben Class submarines. Specialist in towed array intelligence gathering in the Barents sea and submarine operations,

Ensign and Cadet

Conscript service and operational line at Royal Naval Academy in Bergen.


Norwegian National Defense College Information Courses

U.S. Naval Command College, 2004

Norwegian Defense Command and Staff College, 2000

Norwegian Naval Staff College, 1990

Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, 1984

Numerous courses at National tactical level, NATO Schools and commander task group in Halifax Canada

Research Contributions and Publications

RADM Saunes has been a key speaker in many international seminars and forums like International Seapower Symposium, North Atlantic Coast guard forum, Arctic Security forces Round table, Center for Strategic and International studies, The Marshall center, as well as many national and international military symposiums.

He is a CO leader on Newport Arctic Scholar Initiative and Editor Newport Arctic manual

Senior Leadership symposium Cutlass express, Feb 2018
Presentation and mentoring Regional Co-operation and Maritime interoperability
Maritime Security Cooperation

AFRICOM, Seychelles

Irregular warfare seminar USNWC May 2018
Maritime Operations Other Than War presentation and panelist

Presentation, 21st Century Seapower in the High North:
Arctic Ocean Littoral states conflicting views – Shaping and adapting to Grand strategies
Arctic Ocean Great Power competition
Allied Capabilities and bilateral strategic agreements

Lectures and panels at Norwegian Navy tactical School KNM “T” Aug 2018

Presentation and panelist Arctic Maritime Symposium
Norwegian Arctic strategy and security policy.

Anchorage Alaska Aug 2018

European Security seminar North Presentation and panelist
Power competition and Seapower in the Arctic
Arctic Ocean Littoral states conflicting views Shaping or adapting to Grand strategies
Norway policies in the High North

George C Marshall European Center for security Studies Sep 2018/2019

Presentation, panelist and mentoring CFMCC flag officer course 18-4C
Regional Co-operation and Maritime interoperability
Maritime Security Cooperation

Naval Forces Europe, Naples Dec 2018

Book Review “Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940 by John Kiszly

Naval War College Review Winter 2019

Presentation and panelist Exercise Obangame express 2019 Leadership symposium
Navy - Coast Guard -Whole of Government-Military Security Cooperation

AFRICOM, Nigeria

Awards and Decorations

Defense Service medal with Laurel branch

Defense service medal with stars

National service medal with stars

Legion of Merit commander (US)

Officier de la Legion D’honneor (Fr)

Ehrenkreuz der Bundeswehr in Gold (Ge).

External Memberships and Associations

US Flag officer course at Darden University, North Carolina

George C Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Material and external links contained herein are made available for the purpose of peer review and discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Naval War College, Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.