Denmark

The Defence expenditure allocated by the government, amounted to DKK 22.78 billion, in 2015. Governmental expenditure for Social protection, Health and Education accounted for a staggering 71.4% of the 2015 Budget, while General public services for a further 13.5%, and Defence for just 2%.

The Danish Armed Forces consist of the Royal Danish Army, the Royal Danish Navy, the Royal Danish Air Force and the Danish Home Guard (with local presence across the country, it is a voluntary military organisation supporting defence and civilian authorities).

Their main tasks at a national level, besides operations related to monitoring of the national territory and enforcement of sovereignty, are more civil-oriented operations, such as search and rescue, environmental tasks, as well as provision of support to public authorities (e.g. police, emergency rescue services, tax authorities). At an international level, the Danish Armed Forces are engaged in armed conflict and stabilisation tasks, as well as international policing operations.

As per the data published by the Danish MoD (Ministry of Defence), the main cost categories of the Defence Expenditure are Joint Expenses, Military Defence and Emergency Management (See chart below for the related appropriations for the year 2016).

The Defence expenditure allocated by the government, amounted to DKK 22.78 billion, in 2015. Governmental expenditure for Social protection, Health and Education accounted for a staggering 71.4% of the 2015 Budget, while General public services for a further 13.5%, and Defence for just 2%.

Considering the geopolitical situation of Denmark after the end of the Cold War, which found the country surrounded by friends and allies, the 2% allocated for Defence expenditure is quite expectable. Characteristically, Danish public expenditure on Defence, has not exceeded in the last 15 years or so, the 3% mark.

According to the five-year Danish Defence Agreement (for the period 2013-2017), Denmark’s military expenditure, was reduced during the 2013-2015 period as a % of GDP, and reached DKK 21.04 billion (€2.83 billion), in 2016. This trend is to further continue according to the government’s projections, up to 2019, with minor exceptions.

However, the increased global insecurity as a result of terrorism and cyber-attacks, in addition to the planned tasks in the Arctic area –i.e. increased responsibilities for search & rescue, environmental protection-, imply the need for Denmark to raise its defence budget; it is indicative that Denmark is the only country in the Baltic region that has not yet responded to this new norm.

However, Denmark has always been a country with a ‘proactive’ defence policy, based to a great extent on its cooperation with other nations and its participation as an ally to the UN, the EU and NATO. Considering the latter, realising the importance of NATO, as a cornerstone of its security guarantee, Denmark has committed to put an end to the decline of its defence expenditure in real terms, and try to move towards the 2% of the GDP spending goal, agreed by the NATO members.

For 2016, the Defence Budget has been distributed to the items indicated in the following figure, with Personnel (46%), Administration (25%) and Equipment Management (18%), accounting for the lion’s share.

In a different breakdown by the Danish Ministry of Defence, the areas of “Equipment and IT”, and “Joint Services Defence Command” were the main ‘recipients’ of the 2016 Danish Defence Budget (see chart below).

In order to address potential threats and preserve the security of its nation, the Danish Defence Strategy focuses on six main directions:

  • A competitive international defence market
  • Beneficial framework for the defence industry
  • Cooperation between the Ministry of Defence and the Danish Industry
  • International cooperation regarding acquisitions and development
  • Security of supply
  • Industrial cooperation

Realising the fragile environment outside its borders, and in order to address potential threats to its territory in the future, Denmark is, amongst other items, focusing on investments in cyber-security, surveillance and intelligence technologies.

According to 2014 data of the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO), the specialised materiel centre and logistics authority of the Danish Armed Forces, the following new defence platforms, equipment and materiel were to be procured from 2015 onwards:

For the Army:

  • Heavy 120mm Mortar Systems
  • Satellite communication systems/ Vehicle mounted SATCOM terminals
  • Electronic Counter Measures systems (self–propelled, for protection) - both vehicle mounted and hand-held
  • Broad range of Sensor systems (Night Vision, weapon sights and Nano-UAS)
  • Armoured 4x4 Patrol Vehicles
  • Laser Target Designators
  • Remote controlled Weapon Stations
  • Army Simulation Systems
  • Containers and Logistic Vehicles
  • 155mm artillery systems
  • All types of ammunition
  • CBRN protection suites and equipment

For the Navy:

  • Close in Weapon System
  • Fast (Motor) Rescue Boats (initially 3 units are to be procured)
  • Scan Sonar replacement/Mine Counter Measures (MCM) modularity
  • IFF Mode 5 upgrade
  • Continuous Wave Illuminators replacement
  • Vessel Traffic Service radar replacement
  • Replacement of Navy RHIBs (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats)
  • Upgrade of Tactical Data Links

For the Air Force:

  • Terminal Control Area Radars acquisition/TACAN - Tactical Air Navigation
  • F-16 M6 Simulator update
  • EH-101 Simulator
  • Fennec scout helicopter update
  • Encrypted radio communications for F-16
  • EH-101 IFF Mode 5 upgrade
  • APS-143 surveillance radar replacement (Challenger 604 aircraft)
  • F-16 replacement (F-35 selected; 27 aircraft to be procured)

Many of the related sourcing procedures are well underway, if not already awarded. Further requirements materialised and are already underway for: Military Terrain Capable Trucks (400-500 vehicles); MASTIFF III IEDD vehicles; 155mm Artillery systems (15 self-propelled); C2IS systems, including the Battle Management System for the Army; the acquisition of Environmental Protection Vessels; and, semi-automatic cameras and sensor systems for identification, classification and verification of ships.


In addition, a number of current assets of the Armed Forces were to be upgraded (e.g. the Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank, the CV9035 DK Infantry Fighting Vehicles, the C-130 aircraft, the F-16 aircraft targeting pods, the TPS77 radars).

When compared to some years earlier, arms imports have recorded a decrease in the last five years (2010-2015). In order to tackle the new arisen challenges, Denmark has obtained weaponry able to confront tactical threats, as well as national and international operations. The main arms imports, during the latter referred period, consisted mostly of Sensors, Naval Weapons, Engines and Missiles.

According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) data, in the last ten years, the main providers of Defence equipment to Denmark, were the US (24.6%), the UK (19%), Sweden (17.7%), the Netherlands (16.6%), as well as Germany (12.8%), Switzerland (8%) and Israel (1.2%), (see chart below).