Danish Defence

Danish Defence
Danish Defence
Danske Forsvars logo.svg
Service branches Royal Danish Army — Hæren (HRN)
Royal Danish Navy — Søværnet (SVN)
Royal Danish Air Force — Flyvevåbnet (FLV)
Danish Home Guard — Hjemmeværnet (HJV)
Commander-in-Chief Queen Margrethe II
Defence Minister Nick Hækkerup (Social Democrats)
Chief of Defence General Knud Bartels
Military age 18-49
Available for
military service
1,276,087 (2004 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
1,088,751 (2004 est.), age 15–49
Active personnel 22,000 (2010)
Reserve personnel 12,000 + 51,000 volunteers in the Home Guard
Deployed personnel 1,400[1]
Budget 4.33 billion USD (2009)[2]
Percent of GDP 1.4% (2009)
Related articles
History Military history of Denmark
Danish Army and Navy personnel at combined/joint exercise DANEX/DRO '07

The armed forces of the Kingdom of Denmark, known as the Danish Defence (Danish: Forsvaret) is charged with the defence of the Kingdom of Denmark.

The Chief of Defence is the head of the Danish Armed Forces, and is head of the Defence Command which is managed by the Ministry of Defence. Constitutionally, the Commander-in-Chief is the head of state (Queen Margrethe II); in practice, it is the Cabinet. Also, the Cabinet cannot mobilize the armed forces, for purposes that are not strictly defence oriented, without the consent of parliament.

Denmark also has a concept of "total defence" (Danish: Totalforsvar).[3]


Purpose and task

The purpose and task of the armed forces of Denmark is defined in Law no. 122 of February 27, 2001 and in force since March 1, 2001. It defines 3 purposes and 6 tasks.

Its primary purpose is to prevent conflicts and war, preserve the sovereignty of Denmark, secure the continuing existence and integrity of the independent Kingdom of Denmark and further a peaceful development in the world with respect to human rights.

Its primary tasks are; NATO participation in accordance with the strategy of the alliance, detect and repel any sovereignty violation of Danish territory (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), defence cooperation with non-NATO members, especially Central and East European countries, international missions in the area of conflict prevention, crises-control, humanitarian, peacemaking, peacekeeping, participate in Total Defence in cooperation with civilian resources and finally maintain a sizable force to execute these tasks at all times.

Defence budget

Since 1988, Danish defence budgets and security policy have been set by multi-year agreements supported by a wide parliamentary majority including government and opposition parties. However, public opposition to increases in defence spending — during a period when economic constraints require reduced spending for social welfare — has created differences among the political parties regarding a broadly acceptable level of new defence expenditure.

The latest Defence agreement ("Defence agreement 2005-2009") was signed June 10, 2004, and calls for a significant re-construction of the entire military. From now about 60% support structure and 40% combat operational capability, it is to be 40% support structure and 60% combat operational capability. E.g. more combat soldiers and fewer 'paper'-soldiers. The reaction speed is increased, with an entire brigade on standby readiness; the military retains the capability to continually deploy 2,000 soldiers in international service or 5,000 over a short time span. The standard mandatory conscription is modified. Generally this means fewer conscripts, less service time for them and only those who choose to will continue into the reaction force system.


The Danish military economy is the fifth largest single economy in the Danish Government (the 2006 Finance law), significantly less than that of the Ministry of Social Affairs (~110 billion DKK), Ministry of Employment (~67 billion DKK), Ministry of the Interior and Health (~66 billion DKK) and Ministry of Education (~30 billion DKK) and only slightly larger than that of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (~14 billion DKK). This list lists the complete expenditures for the Danish Ministry of Defence.

The Danish defence, counting all branches and all departments, itself has an income equal to about 1–5% of its expenditures, depending on the year. They are not deducted in this listing.

Approximately 95% of the budget goes directly to running the Danish military including the Home guard. Depending on year, 50–53% accounts for payment to personnel, roughly 14–21% on acquiring new material, 2–8% for larger ships, building projects or infrastructure and about 24–27% on other items, including purchasing of goods, renting, maintenance, services and taxes.

The remaining 5% is special expenditures to NATO, branch shared expenditures, special services and civil structures, here in including running the Danish Maritime Safety Administration, Danish national rescue preparedness and the administration of conscientious objectors (Militærnægteradministrationen).

Year Percentage of GNP Complete expenditures
(Ministry of Defence)
in millions of DKK
Year Percentage of GNP Complete expenditures
(Ministry of Defence)
in millions of DKK
1970  ?  ? 1990  ?  ?
1971  ?  ? 1991  ?  ?
1972  ?  ? 1992  ?  ?
1973  ?  ? 1993  ?  ?
1974  ?  ? 1994  ?  ?
1975  ?  ? 1995  ?  ?
1976 2,2% 5.910 1996 1.7% 17.012,6
1977 2,3% 6.390 1997 1,7% 17.615,1
1978 2,3% 7.082 1998 1,6% 18.221,4
1979 2,2% 7.525 1999 1.4% 17.384,9
1980 2,6% 9.545 2000 1,4% 17.496,5
1981 2,6% 10.612 2001 1,4% 18.310,4
1982 2,5% 11.836 2002 1,4% 18.665,9
1983 2,5% 12.783 2003 1.4% 18.857,9
1984 2,3% 13.163 2004 1,4% 19.841,3
1985 2,2% 13.355 2005 1,3% 19.066,8
1986 2,0% 13.142 2006 1.3% 21.221,9
1987 2,1% 14.443 2007 na 21.692,1 (expected)
1988 2,2% 15.800 2008 na 21.341,3 (expected)
1989 2,1% 15.767 2009 na 18.960,1 (expected)


Denmark has a small and highly specialized military industry, thus rely mostly on foreign import, the vast majority of the equipment is imported from NATO and the Nordic countries.



  • Ministry of Defence ((Danish): Forsvarsministeriet (FMN))
    • Defence Command ((Danish): Forsvarskommandoen (FKO)) (intl. abb: DADEFCOM)
      • Army Operational Command ((Danish): Hærens Operative Kommando (HOK)) (intl. abb: DAAROPCOM)
      • Admiral Danish Fleet ((Danish): Søværnets Operative Kommando (SOK)) (intl. abb: ADMDANFLT)
      • Tactical Air Command ((Danish): Flyvertaktisk Kommando (FTK)) (intl. abb: DAAIRCOM)
      • Island Command Greenland ((Danish): Grønlandskommando (GLK)) (intl. abb: ISCOMGREEN)
      • Island Command Faroes ((Danish): Færøernes Kommando (FRK)) (intl. abb: ISCOMFAROE)
      • Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization ((Danish): Forsvarets Materieltjeneste (FMT))
      • Royal Danish Defence College ((Danish): Forsvarsakademiet (FAK))
      • Danish Armed Forces Health Services ((Danish): Forsvarets Sundhedstjeneste (FSU))
    • Home Guard Command ((Danish): Hjemmeværnskommandoen (HJVK))
    • Defence Intelligence Service ((Danish): Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE)) (intl. abb: DDIS)
    • Judge Advocate Corps ((Danish): Forsvarets Auditørkorps (FAUK))
    • Defence Information & Welfare Service ((Danish): Forsvarets Oplysnings- og velfærdstjeneste (FOV))
    • Defence Estates & Infrastructure Organisation ((Danish): Forsvarets Bygnings- og etablissementstjeneste (FBE))
    • Defence Internal Auditor ((Danish): Forsvarets Interne Revision (FIR))
    • Emergency Management Agency ((Danish): Beredskabsstyrelsen (BRS)) (intl. abb: DEMA)
    • Danish Maritime Safety Administration ((Danish): Farvandsvæsnet (FRV)) (intl. abb: DANMSA)
    • Administration of Conscientious Objector ((Danish): Militærnægteradministrationen (MNA))

Special forces

Current deployments

Current deployment of Danish forces:


Technically all Danish 18-years old males are conscripts (37,897 in 2010), and 53 % (2010) were considered suitable for duty [7]. There is no need for all of them so only a few of them serve (5129 in 2010). 91 % of the conscripts were volunteers. There were additionally 567 female "conscripts" in 2010[8].

Conscripts in the Royal Life Guards serve 8 months [9], because it's preferable to have conscripts guarding the Queen.
Conscripts in the horse squadron of the Guard Hussars serve 12 months, because it takes time to learn how to ride a horse.
Conscripts in the Danish army in general serve 4 months.
Conscripts on the royal yacht Dannebrog serve 9 months [10].
Conscripts in the Danish navy in general serve 4 months.
Conscripts in the Danish air force serve 4 months [11].
Conscripts in the Danish Emergency Management Agency serve 6 months [12].

See also


External links

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