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NATO Headquarter - Photo: NATO
Danish Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen in bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: NATO, Jan 14, 2020.

Denmark in NATO

For Denmark NATO is the central forum for Foreign, Security and Defence Policy dialogue and cooperation across the Atlantic.

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.

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