Forsvarsminister Trine Bramsen til bilateralt møde med NATO's generalsekretær Jens Stoltenberg. Foto: NATO, januar 2020.

Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen at a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: NATO, January 2020.

For Denmark NATO is the central forum for Foreign, Security and Defence Policy dialogue and cooperation across the Atlantic. All decisions in NATO are made according to the “Consensus-principle”. Furthermore, NATO has an ongoing dialogue with a number of partners, including Ukraine, Georgia, countries in Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf-region.

Since 1949, NATO has been the cornerstone of Danish Security and Defence Policy. During the Cold War NATO directly guaranteed the security and independence of Denmark. After the Cold War, organisations such as NATO, UN, EU and OSCE has been the central framework through which Denmark has safeguarded security political interests and promoted peace, security and respect for human rights.

Denmark’s security is deeply rooted in NATO

NATO is the cornerstone in Danish defence and security policy. With the defence agreement from January 2018 Denmark replies to the security policy situation which we are facing. The focus is an increasing defence budget and investments in capacities being in demand in NATO.

The security policy situation is the most serious since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In many ways the world has become more unpredictable:

  • Russia has clearly demonstrated will to use military force in order to pursue its political goals.
  • Information campaigns have become a weapon per se.
  • The instability in North Africa and the Middle East still adds fuel to terrorism.
  • The irregular migration flows are a serious threat.
  • Attacks in cyberspace have increasingly severe security and economic consequences. 


The adaptation to the changed situation starts from NATO. NATO is the guarantee for Denmark’s security. Therefore, it is in Denmark’s interest to contribute to NATO, including the collective deterrence and the collective defence provided by the Alliance.

Together with NATO, Denmark needs to strengthen the collective defence and the collective deterrence. Therefore, by the defence agreement Denmark wants i.a. to:

  • Place a new effective brigade consisting of up till 4,000 soldiers in an independent unit.
  • Fit the Royal Danish Navy’s frigates with short-range and, eventually, long-range air defence missiles.
  • Improve the ability to combat threats from submarines.
  • Strengthen the ability of the Danish Defence, the Home Guard and the reserves to mobilize whereas they have a special focus on protecting infrastructure and delivering host support to other NATO forces in Denmark.
  • As well as improve the national cyber defence.

One of our biggest challenges is situated in our neighbourhood. We must not ignore Russia’s aggression, military rearmament and impact campaigns. Especially not when it takes place in our own ‘back yard’ which means in the Baltic region. This does not mean a direct military threat to Denmark. However, security requires firmness. This applies both to Denmark and not the least to the Baltic States.

Therefore, Denmark has deployed 200 Danish soldiers in Estonia as a part of NATO’s advanced defence. We will be present all of 2018.

Further, we contribute to NATO’s Air Policing in the Baltic States.

An effort is required, not only in Denmark’s neighbourhood. Thus, Denmark participates in international operations i.a. under the aegis of NATO as part of i.a. the fight against terrorism, the capacity-building and the handling of irregular migration flows.

The threats surrounding us change constantly. This requires that NATO keeps renewing and adapting itself. This also applies to the individual countries’ defence forming the nucleus in the NATO alliance. Therefore, the modernizing of NATO is a matter to which Denmark attaches great importance.

The basic purpose of the NATO alliance has not changed. The primary task is still to enhance security for the 29 Member States forming the Alliance today. However, concurrently with new threats emerging after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, NATO has initiated a renewal and modernization enabling NATO still to be the guarantee for peace and security in the Member States.

Concurrently, with new threats having emerged (for instance the international terrorism, the spreading of weapons of mass destruction and hybrid threats) NATO has renewed itself to the effect that NATO has been able to preserve its basic purpose, but in a way in which the Alliance’s deterrence profile has been adapted to the new challenges and threats.

Transformation and renewal
NATO of today is fundamentally different from the NATO, which was established in 1949 with the North Atlantic Treaty. Several enlargements has increased the number of member states to 29 and the end of the Cold War meant that we, in Europe, live in a more peaceful region – but not in a more peaceful world. Moreover, the latest developments in Ukraine has shown that there is still need of a strong, solidary and ready NATO.

Concurrently with the appearance of new threats (for example international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and hybrid threats) NATO has renewed itself in such a way that the Alliance has managed to keep sight of its fundamental purpose while still being able to adapt its deterrence profile to new challenges and threat.

NATO’s military Role
NATO’s military role is essential for Danish cooperation with Allied partners. The military cooperation in NATO includes military capabilities, a common command structure, joint technical standards, joint procedures, joint exercises and NATO operations.

Today, NATO’s have conducted operations in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kosovo, the Adrian Sea, Afghanistan, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Aden, Afghanistan and Libya.

Read more about NATO operations on the NATO website.

Last updated October 14, 2020 - 17:51

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