Nordic defence ministers' meeting
A Nordic defence ministers' meeting took place 7 -8 May at the Frederiksborg Castle near Hillerød in Denmark, headed by the Danish minister of defence Mr. Nick Hækkerup
2012-05-09 - 13:00
The meeting was the first of two Nordic defence ministers' meetings during the Danish 2012 NORDEFCO presidency. The ministers of defence stressed the importance and the intention of developing a closer and stronger Nordic cooperation in the defence area. NORDEFCO was pointed out as an example of 'Smart Defence', where a closer cooperation on procurement of equipment, operations, and education/training may optimize the use of resources.
The ministers of defence also discussed a long series of subjects and challenges of current interest, including the grave situation in Syria.
Below, further topics of interest from the ministers of defence meeting:
The ministers of defence discussed the coming NATO summit in Chicago. At the summit, there will be a special focus on the engagement of the ISAF nations in Afghanistan, missile defence, and NATO partnerships, among other things.
Capacity-building in East Africa
The ministers of defence debated Nordic cooperation in the field of capacity-building in East Africa, where the Nordic countries already provide support to the land and naval forces. In the last decades almost all the nations of the region have been involved in armed conflicts with neighbouring countries or in internal conflicts. Based on this fact, the Nordic ministers of defence discussed the options of fortifying and increasing the support for the region, as initiated in 2009 by the Nordic countries with capacity-building of the East African Reaction Forces (EASF). The purpose of the Nordic support is to enable the Africans to handle their own conflicts. This fall, a Nordic working group will present a report to the ministers with a proposal for a possible extension of the Nordic cooperation in East Africa.
Tactical air transport
The ministers of defence confirmed the intention to look into the possibility of a closer Nordic cooperation in the area of tactical air transport. One purpose of this will be to make tactical air transport more efficient by increased cooperation on defence capacities. The ministers were got an update on the state of the work initiated last year by the establishment of a Nordic working group for the examination of options of a stronger cooperation on tactical air transport of the Nordic countries (C-130).
The Nordic ministers of defence further discussed the situation in Afghanistan. They were pleased by the progress in the security situation and in the training of the Afghan security forces. The intention of a continued Nordic support for Afghanistan was confirmed with the ongoing shift of focus from battle to training operations. In this connection the importance of support for the establishment of the Afghan security forces, ANSF, was emphasized, including contributions to financing.
The meeting also proved beneficial for exchange of experience and update on the state of support and recognition of veterans in the respective countries. In later years, the involvement of the Nordic countries in demanding international missions, such as in Afghanistan, has entailed a need to establish national veterans' organisations for the support of soldiers and their relatives. Furthermore, in addition to the supporting activities before, during and after participation to military missions, the countries have introduced initiatives which recognize the crucial effort of the soldiers. This includes, among other things, introduction of flag-flying days, i.e. national veterans' days with participation of top political figures of the countries and their parliaments. It was agreed between the ministers of defence that the Nordic countries - with their Baltic partners - should consider the options for establishing a closer cooperation in this area.
The ministers of defence were briefed on the first Nordic industrial seminar 2nd -3rd May at the Bella Center in Copenhagen with the motto: 'A Smarter and Greener Defence'. The focus of the seminar was how the armed forces of the nations meet the challenge of climatic change and rising energy prices. The seminar demonstrated that defence can be compatible with climate- and energy-friendly initiatives, and that it is possible to achieve both savings and increased operative effect through climate- and energy-friendly initiatives. In addition to this, the seminar demonstrated that the Nordic industries possess a long series of products and competences, for instance in high-technological areas.
MCC and the ammunition project
The ministers of defence were briefed by the chairman of the NORDEFCO Military Coordination Committee (MCC), MG Flemming Lentfer, regarding the state of and the perspectives for military areas of cooperation. Finally, the ministers of defence were informed of the Danish ammunition project, which deals with the possibility of procurement and handling of ammunition in a smarter and more cost-efficient manner.