Is Denmark’s Foreign Policy of “Military Activism” Reflected in its Recruitment and Retention Policy ? Published in Res Militaris no 5, Nov 2017


Danish Foreign and Defence Policy since World War II


There has been great consistency since 1945 between Denmark’s declared foreign and defence policies, which went together through three identifiable phases.[1] In the Cold War period, Denmark as a founding member of Nato pursued a symbolic warlike security policy (albeit somewhat toned down during the 1980s). In the post-Cold War era’s first decade up until 9/11, Danish security policy manifested itself through participation in military actions legitimized by international organizations (UN, Osce, EU, and Nato). After 2001, the country’s foreign policy evolved to the point where its armed forces engaged in sheer wars, in particular in Iraq and Afghanistan – with or without a UN Security Council mandate.







Published/ publié inRes Militaris(,Ergomas issue n°5, November 2017



Denmark’s military strategy followed accordingly. First, as a “defensive, non-provocative actor” in the Cold War era,[2]then as a “civilian/ military offensive actor” in the post-Cold War period, and since 9/11 as a “strategic offensive actor”.[3] The post-2001 defence policy rests on the argument that after 9/11, the Western world is at war against rogue States harbouring terrorists and developing weapons of mass destruction (Wmd) or deploying terrorists to harm innocent citizens. As a “strategic offensive actor”, Denmark recognized the need for Danish soldiers to fight hostile forces as part of international coalitions[4]even at the cost of Danish soldiers returning home in body bags. In the two last periods, the Danish armed forces have pursued two tasks: in the formulation repeated in successive Defence Agreements (2005-2009,[5] 2010-2012[6] and 2013-2017[7]), (1) provide for “Total [homeland] Defence” and (2) take part in international missions on the basis of increased “deployable military capacities”.[8]These Defence Agreements’ insistence on commitment of troops overseas has (rightly) been termed “military activism”.[9]




Time, Location, Mission, Type and Size of Danish Deployments


Table 1 (next page) illustrates the changed nature over time of Danish contingents deployed abroad. It shows, in particular, that the Danish Army was the only service involved in operations overseas throughout the Cold War : it was not until 1990 that the Navy and Air Force followed suit.[10] In the period 1948-1990, Army soldiers were mostly active in minor, low-intensity UN missions. In those days, the main troop deployment scenario for Denmark was the other way round, with UK and US soldiers slated to come to its rescue in case of a Warsaw Pact attack. Things changed rather dramatically in the post-Cold War era and in particular from 2003 onwards, when many Danish soldiers started to serve abroad in longer and more lethal missions (n°s 6, 7, 10, and 11). Since 2010, following the Defence Committee’s 2008 recommendation for dual-type operations,[11]Danish soldiers have been engaged in more missions abroad, mostly minor, short-term and of both low- (as instructors) and high-intensity nature.


Another way of describing the “military activism” of the last quarter-century is to calculate the number, not of missions to which Danish contingents were a party, but of individual rotations of Danish soldiers for the 1992-2009 period.[12]This gives a more fluctuating picture as a function of time, place, and size of the deployments. In 1992, there were 1,400 individual rotations to the Balkans. In 1993, this figure doubled to 2,700, after which it gradually fell to around 1,700 in 1998. From 1999 to 2005, 3,000 yearly rotations, in particular to Iraq, were observed. From 2006 to 2009, their number grew by 50% to around 4,500 (some 30% of the Danish military’s total active-duty strength !), mostly to Afghanistan as Denmark put an end to its military presence in Iraq by 2007. Today, the number is below 700. This fluctuation is a specifically Danish phenomenon as it strongly contrasts with the stable number of 130,000 soldiers from a variety of nations deployed on some 50 operations conducted in 33 locations around the world[13]– not counting the Nato’s Isaf operation in Afghanistan.[14]


Table 1 : Major Danish Military Deployments, 1948 – 2016[15]


Service involved

Time period


Type of mission

Intensity of conflict

Total numbers involved (dead)

1. Army

1948  ->





2. Army

1956 – 1967





3. Army

1960 – 1964





4. Army

1964 – 1994





5. Navy

1990 – 1991





6. Army

1992 – 2003





7. Army

1999 – 2009

Balkans, Kosovo




8. Air Force



Allied Force



9. Army

2000 - 2001





10. Army/Air Force

2003 – (2014)


ISAF/Enduring Freedom


   8.600    (43)

11. Army

2003 – (2007)




   5.500     (6)

12. Army






13. Navy/Air Force


The Aden Bay

Ocean Shield



14. Army

2009 – 2011





15. Air Force



Unified Protector



16. Army/Air Force






17. Navy

2013 - 2014





18. Army/Air Force



Inherent Resolve



19. Army



Resolute Support



20. Army/Air Force






21. Army/Air Force

2016 ->(ctd)

Iraq + Syria [16])

Inherent Resolve






Today, a new foreign objective and military strategy has emerged: join the Nato Reaction Force to assist other Nato countries, for instance the Baltic nations neighbouring Russia.[17]The Danish military may move “from deploy to prepare” for worst-case missions.[18] However, Denmark still pursues military activism and manages to do so despite profound reduction and change in personnel, military budgets, and installations.


Structural Changes


The personnel composition of the Danish military has changed dramatically over the last half-century. Table 2 (next page) shows that not only have all four personnel categories seen their numbers drop, but also the relationships and balance among them have changed. Today, the officer and Nco groups account for fully 3/4 of all uniformed personnel, as against only one-third in 1970. Whereas at that time 44% of all service members were conscripts, that proportion is now 11%. This sharp decline in the share of conscripts resulted from a policy that reduced both the number of drafted young men (or women – on a voluntarily basis) and the duration of conscript tours of duty to only four months. Denmark can thus claim that it has both preserved the citizen-soldier tradition (important for recruitment and democratic reasons) and maintained high levels of military efficiency as 75% of all service members are professionals and as more than 95% of all draftees are volunteers.[19]


The ratio of defence expenditures to Gnp over the 1970-2016 period has dropped, too. In 1970, military spending amounted to 2,4% ; today, it is half that figure, at 1,2%. In particular, the latest reductions in overall military expenditures (2014-2017:15% ) to with 2.7 billion Dkk is striking[20] even though they occurred after an increase in military budgets over the previous period (2010-2014: 3.5 billion Dkk).[21]


The number of “military installations”, i.e. defence facilities or bases in Denmark (excluding those in Greenland and the Faroe Islands) has decreased as well,  from 641 in 1989 to around 291 in 2013 (45%)[22]and even more so due to a further reduction in the number of installations as a result of Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017, where a majority of service facilities either changed identity or purpose, closed down, and/or sold to civilian entities.. The Nco trade union, CS, has registered the same downward trend. In 1970, it had members serving at 61 locations, today at only 30 military facilities.[23]


Table 2 : Personnel Composition, Defence Participation Rate, 1970-2016[24]


Personnel categories




Jan 1, 2016




































All military





Officers+NCOs/ Total















55 100








Population in 1000s





Defence participation rate








Table 3 : Military Expenditures, Cost and Number of Deployed Danish Soldiers, Number of Military Garrisons, Chief of the Defence Staff Functions, 1970 – 2016


Def. budget (billion DKK)





Def. Expenditures/ GNP





Military installations





Cost of overseas ops. (million DKK)





Danish soldiers deployed





CDS functions (full command, inspection)

49 functions*



7 functions**


* All three services, Operations, Personnel, Materiel, Press, Budget, Press, Communications, etc.


** All three services, Operations, Special Operations, Arctic Operations, Development.


Together with this reduction in numbers, some of the remaining military facilities were relocated from the eastern part of Denmark (Zealand, close to Copenhagen and Funen, etc.) to its western part (Jutland). In 1970, 44% of all military installations were located in Jutland, today more than 50%, and now the operation staffs of all three services.


Military Professionalism and the Quest for Efficciency


To manage such a policy of military activism and such structural transformations at the same time, Danish defence has sought to increase its efficiency[25]through enhancedprofessionalization, an effort that will need to be maintained into the future.[26]Much has been accomplished already, as Tables 2 and 3 strongly suggest, in terms of personnel drawdown, budget retrenchment, and reduction in the number as well as rationalized geographical distribution of military facilities. Yet, observers are quick to note that budget savings are less than expected because they are partly eaten up by the cost of overseas operations, and the concentration/re-location has taken place at a slower pace than announced.[27]


Another important aspect is that the above-mentioned multidimensional downsizing has been imposed by Danish politicians on a reluctant military leadership, who argue that there are limits to how far it is possible to downsize and retrench without harming what Alfred Vagts in his day called the “military way” (as opposed to “militarism”) : “a primary concentration of men and materials on winning objectives of power with the utmost efficiency, that is, with the least expenditure of blood and treasure”.[28]The question raised is whether the proposed “leaner, but meaner” military will be able to maintain an acceptable degree of professionalism in the face of private sector-type management programmes, and still deploy soldiers abroad with any chance of being effective in the performance of their missions. Applying civilian solutions to military problems may well result in unanticipated ineffectiveness as the case of the functions of the Danish Chief of Defence (Cds) illustrates.


Before World War II and until 1950, the Danish military was decentralized,[29]with the Army and the Navy governing themselves autonomously and the Defence ministry acting as the integrating agency – a solution which resulted in a fair approximation of Vagts’ “military way”. The 1950 Defence Law gave the Cds a central role as interservice chiefinpeaceas well as in war under the Defence minister. In 1952, a new Nato command structure premised on a quest for increased military effectiveness transferred command of the Danish armed forces in war to a Nato general officer. The 1969 and 1973 Defence Acts maintained the earlier centralization of military affairs under the Cds, and specified the 49 different functions assigned to the role. In contrast, the 2014 Defence law leaves the Cds with only seven such functions – and he may not even be an officer.[30] Thus, the Defence Chief of Staff now looks very much like a figurehead, with much less manoeuvring room than before – and a depressed standing in the eyes of international peers. The 42 functions he no longer assumes (personnel, budget, materiel purchases, etc.) have gone to a civilian Chief Executive Officer placed directly beneath the Defence minister. Such imposed “civilianization” can at least partly be interpreted as a reaction to the disrespect shown by successive Defence Chiefs for both the processes and agents of the democratic political control of the armed forces in a number of cases.[31]This was seen by ruling politicians as a blatant case of militarism. While the motives are understandable, one may well see the provisions of the current Defence Act as an overreaction which places military professionalism at risk.[32]


It is against the background of these experiences, reductions in force, retrenchment, military strategies and the foreign policy objective of military activism that the present recruitment and retention policy of the Danish Armed Forces are described and interpreted.


The Recruitment and Education of Danish Officers


A new officer recruitment policy was introduced in 2016.[33]Three accession channels are now available to officer candidates in Denmark. The traditional one, through a service academy for suitable Ncos, was supplemented by the possibility for Ncos in certain occupational specialties to upgrade their technical skills by studying for an academic degree while serving. The politicians expect “2/3 of the targeted eligible Ncos to be recruited for the new officer education”.[34]A new, external entrance channel was made available for holders of a bachelor’s degree earned from a civilian university. Such candidates start with two months of basic military training, upon completion of which they pursue 28 months’ officer education and training at one of the service academies. While politicians expected “1/3 of all accepted applicants (…) to have a university graduate  background”,[35]this has not been the case. Whereas government policy usually refrains from interfering heavily with higher education, it did with officer education, not only because rulers wish to save money,[36] but also because they want to “civilianize” officers.


Such imposed civilianization goes even deeper than meets the eye. The length of officer education has been curtailed from 47-65 to only 28 months. This comes on top of the fact that, following the trend that has affected most Western service academies in the last few decades, Danish service schools had already experienced increased civilianization of selection procedure and criteria, teaching staff, curricula, etc.[37]Whereas previously the military leadership did not hesitate to oppose such educational changes, only a few officers have dared publicly criticize the new system.[38]On the contrary, while the Defence Command remained silent, the Cds at the time, Gen. Peter Bartram, advertised his support for the new state of affairs to the outside world.[39]


Retention Policy


The policy pursued by Denmark when it comes to retention of armed forces personnel bears little resemblance to other countries’ usual approach to that issue. Most defence employees pursue full careers, and many serve until retirement. At a time of downsizing, one might there seems to be little fear of manpower shortages – except among officers and NCOs with specific functions and when it comes to deployments. As a result, the main problem posed to the Danish defence establishment is thus not so much to avoid voluntary premature separations from service and to encourage members to renew their enlistment contracts, but – especially now that heavy emphasis is laid on efficiency – to ensure that the ranks are filled by personnel fit for action, especially overseas deployments. Thus, the Defence Medical Service (Forsvarets sundhedstjeneste) tests the physical health of every service member or civilian employee every year, and issues fitness and deployment aptitude reports. Test results declare every member either “fit”, “unfit”, or “currently fit”. If unfit, he or she can be dismissed. This is apt to lead to conflict with defence unions. Such a case occurred in 2015, when an officer was declared “permanently unfit” for overseas missions, and discharged even though he was in sufficient health to serve in Denmark without problems.[40] The Danish Officer Union (Hod) sued the Defence Ministry for undue discharge.


Yet, the concern for “efficiency” has generated seeming contradictions when, anxious to keep the retirement pension system in balance in light of a longer average life expectancy, the government was recently led to propose a postponement of mandatory retirement age – from 60 for service members and 65 for civilian employees[41] to 65 and 70, respectively, for those born after January 1973.[42]While this reform remains to be enacted as its exact provisions are for the military trade unions and the Defence ministry to negotiate at a later stage, the signal is clear. At the same time, in order to try and remedy the officer shortage,[43]the military has introduced a policy to incite senior personnel with valuable experience and skills to remain in service longer than they had planned. It does so through “attractive arrangements”[44]such as better pay, shorter work time, and/or other individually designed conditions. Inasmuch as the likelihood of medical unfitness grows with age, the two policies are to some extent bound to collide.


Danish retention policy thus consists in pushing out some service members while desperately trying to retain others. All of the above confirms that the search for efficiency is conducive to individualized human resource management, possibly to the detriment of esprit de corps – one of the mainstays of military professionalism – and of collective morale.[45]Interestingly, while the driving force behind such reforms was the government’s political will, the military leadership took further steps in the same direction on its own initiative.


Deployment Problems Ahead?


Nevertheless, despite the various reductions in personnel, budgets, and installations, the Danish Armed Forces have proved their military professionalismin their handling of rather extensive deployments abroad. On the other hand, the drastic curtailment of the Cds’s functions and the imposed civilianization of officer recruitment and education may in the future harm military effectiveness in two ways. The amputation of his areas of competence will depress overall responsibility for both organization and action. This will not be compensated for by the recently unified Defence Command covering all three services, as it “weakens the professional skills in the Army, Navy and the Air Force [which] are not identical services”.[46]Another is the recruitment policy, in particular . Indeed, another weakness resides inofficer recruitment. It is already the case that half the expected numbers of officer candidates fail to show up.[47]This shortage of applicants is all the more worrying in connection with overseas deployments as “…for each company deployed abroad for six months every third year you need six identical companies back home”.[48]These deployment problems are compounded by the new officer recruitment channel reserved for non-prior service Bachelor’s degree holders, either because they – due to their more theoretical, civilian education – may be “paper officers” and lack military “nerve”, or because they – based on the good leadership education received in the military and the acceptance of military diplomas in Civvy Streetwill experience no difficulties in finding better-paid civilian jobs, and will sooner or later leave the armed forces. The relocation of military installations also plays a detrimental role. Fewer young men (and women) from eastern parts of Denmark will apply for an officer career if that holds the prospect of having to spend years in the middle of nowhere in Jutland. Those who join are educated at service academies in Copenhagen, and it is moot whether their spouses will acceptto accompanythemon their Jutland postings,and thus to give up their own careers[49]:A majority of officers (…) will choose geographical stability over a vertical career”.


On the other hand, one can argue that the human resource management in the Danish military is now more open and flexible than was the case earlier, as the new decentralized manning system makes all military positions available to all, at least in principle. It will improve mobility within the military organization and increase its efficiency as your actual performance now decides your career, not your previous status. However, in reality the new manning system is not always voluntary. The Defence system has sometimes ordered officers and Ncos to apply for a position, creating frustration among professional soldiers.[50] Again, while such occurrences may seem unfair, military professionalism is apt to produce acceptance of possible frustration in the name of collective necessity. If so, then one might ask if the erosion of professionalism induced by the new recruitment policy of “new military blood” and the other programmes enumerated above can solve the problems of Danish officership for the future.


However, personnel shortages in connection to missions abroad have existed for years. In 1992, even before the first major deployments of soldiers took place, shortages of specialists on international operations were recognized.[51]This was particularly the case in 2008,[52]and again in September 2009, when the Accounting Office (Statsrevisorerne) supervising Danish Defence reported personnel deployment problems in Afghanistan.[53]According to its March 2013 Report, it was still the case.[54]More recently, a calculation made by the Nco trade union, CS, showed that of the Army’s 6,664 positions, only 6,176 were manned in September 2015, and even fewer (6,035) by January 2016.[55] The officers’ trade union, Hod, identifies a shortage of more than 600 officers.[56] On top of this, the “efficient retention” policy of discharging personnel if “unfit” for deployment abroad further depletes the deployable group of soldiers.


One might imagine that more female soldiers could help. It is not the case. In 2010, of all soldiers deployed overseas 17% were women, and only 175 served in Afghanistan (in fact, on a full-year basis, half that number) – a mere 7%.[57]


A recent example of the military leadership’s failure to react to personnel shortages is instructive. In 2015, a specific manning shortage problem appeared as regards aircraft mechanics deployed to Iraq (one already identified in a 2008 Defence Committee report[58]) In January, these technicians tried to draw the attention of their superiors to the fact that their deployment period was about to end and no one was on hand to replace them. Nothing happened, and in April the military and political leadership continued to ignore the problem. When pressed, they signalled their intention to prolong the mechanics’ deployment. In June, all of that group’s 14 shop stewards group wrote to the leader of each of the Danish political parties – to no avail. In July, the problem hit the headlines of a major Danish newspaper. With the result that the mechanics were withdrawn in August as scheduled – and with them, all Danish pilot crews, aircraft, gear, and logistics staff.[59]In the wake of this incident, the military leadership initiated an upgrading of future Air Force mechanics through a one-year further education scheme in order to help solve the shortage problem.[60]But its tardiness in addressing it reveals the consequences of increased civilianization, which in the event actually produced less military efficiency.




The question raised in this article’s title must receive at best a mixed answer. On the one hand, despite their shortcomings, Danish military retention policy and human resource managementhave introduced a measure of flexibility, and as such support a continued foreign policy of military activism. On the other hand, recruitment and education policy – kept on a short leash by political rulers to some extent weakens military professionalism, with potentially dire consequences.


The second conclusion is that while the military leadership has proved equal to the requirement of substantial deployments abroad thanks to the existing fund of professional know-how, it has also demonstrated its inability to solve lasting personnel shortage problems. These foreseeable problems should have been remedied with due diligence. Such inefficiency is apt to fill the ranks of a growing group of sceptical officers.[61]


The third lesson is that besides recruitment problems, organizational changes may create problems for future deployments as a result of the new unified Defence Command (which tends to overlook each service’s unique requirements) and the watering down of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s assigned roles. If so, the blame is to be shared by the political class who insisted on such changes and the military leadership who, in implementing them, actually added to their downsides.


What went wrong in Denmark? In light of the above, two tentative answers can be advanced. First, in the history of Western democratic nations, the military has fluctuated between the two poles of militarism and civilianization in search for a balanced professional “military way”. Most of these nations have established institutes or hired scholars for military sociology research and education to help the armed forces improve their professionalism and to comply with the norms of “democratic civil control of the military”. Unfortunately, not in Denmark,[62] where military sociology has never found its place at service academies or the Defence College. It is a pity for Danish military chiefs to ignore the fruits of such research.[63]One can well argue that the many examples of “militarism” mentioned earlier (see footnote 31) would never have occurred if military sociology and civil control in particular had been taught at service schools in their time. The bottomline is that the Danish Defence Chief of Staff has now become marginalized, at the cost of depressed military professionalism. The quest for “efficiency”, which has translated into the irruption of civilian (private sector) management practice, has proved detrimental to it: military sociology could have made leaders aware that in armed forces, efficiency and effectiveness do not always coincide. Some may say such outcomes are well-deserved, others (this author, for one) will lament them.


The secondly answer is that, after a period when political control was absent and militarism rife among top military leaders, the country has moved in the opposite direction of too much civilianization, or what Samuel P. Huntington named the inappropriate road of civilian “subjective control”. Instead, he proposed, “objective civilian control” as guaranteeing a “…maximizing of military professionalism”.[64] For even if, as Morris Janowitz argued,[65]professional soldiers must adapt to ongoing changes in society, there are limits to civilianization if the armed forces are to remain militarily effective.[66]In Denmark, these limits have now been reached.








Anonymous, Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017 (Political Agreement 2013-2017), 30 November 2012, 44 pp.


Anonymous, Beretning fra Forsvarskommissionen (Defence Committee Report), vol.2 : “Dansk forsvar. Globalt engagement”, 2008, 553 pp.


Anonymous, Forsvarsavisen (Defence White Paper),February 2016.


Caforio, Giuseppe (ed.), The European Officer. A Comparative View on Selection and Education, Pisa, European Research Group on Armed Forces and Society, 2000.


CS-Bladet, “Hærens nye opgaver” (“The New Tasks of the Army”), n°2, 2014.


Forsvarskommandoen (Defence Command), Årsrapport 2012 (Annual Report 2012), Copenhagen, 86 pp.


Forsvarskommandoen, Direktiv vedrørende decentral organisationsstyring, FKODIR 234-1, 2, 2014.


Forsvarsministeriets, Rapport om forsvarets fremtidige struktur og størrelse, Copenhagen, March 2, 1992, 138 pp.


Grønnegaard Christensen, Jørgen & Nikolaj Petersen, Managing Foreign Affairs: A Comparative Perspective, Copenhagen, Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS, 2005.


Hansen, Peer, et al., Den kolde krigs anlæg (Installations of the Cold War),Copenhagen, Kulturstyrelsen 2013.


Heurlin, Bertel, Global, Regional, and National Security, Copenhagen, Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS, 2001.


Huntington, Samuel P., The Soldier and the State, New York, Vintage, 1964 [first edition : 1957].


Janowitz, Morris, The Professional Soldier : A Social and Political Portait, Glencoe, Free Press, 1960, 465pp.


Petersen, Nikolaj, Forsvaret i den politiske beslutningsproces (The Defence in the Political Decision-Making Process), Copenhagen, FOV, 1979.


Rynning, Steen, “Danish Security Policy after September 11”, Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2003.


SFI, Det nationale Forskningscenter for Velfærd, Danish Soldiers After Deployment, Copenhagen, 2012, 40 pp.


Sipri Yearbook 2011, Appendix 3A, “Multilateral Peace Operations 2010”, Stockholm, 2011.


Vagts, Alfred, A History of Militarism, Civilian and Military, New York, Meridian Books, 1959.




[1]Heurlin, 2001 ; Rynning, 2003 ; Grønnegaard Christensen & Petersen, 2005.

[2]Heurlin, 2001, op.cit.,

[3]Rynning, 2003, op.cit.

[4]Rynning, 2003, op.cit., p.24

[5]The Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009,p.4, stated that the Danish Armed Forces should be able to deliver “…a much greater capability than before to participate in peace-support operations…, to release resources that will enable Danish Defence to mobilize and deploy forces promptly and flexibly on international operations, and to maintain deployed capacities on the order of some 2000 personnel (1500 Army and 500 Navy and Air Force)”.

[6] Forsvarskommandoen, 2012, p.65.

[7] Anonymous, Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013 – 2017 repeatedly mentions deployments : “Defence shall still have the capacity to deploy abroad more and greater contributions” ; “improve Defence in two respects : international deployment capacities and the ability to countermeasure terror actions and their effects” ; Defence is continuously organized to contribute with rearmed and well-trained units for all types of international missions” (p.1).

[8]Changes in the international security environment require Danish Defence to strengthen its capacities in two central areas: 1) International deployable military capacities and 2) the ability to counter terror acts and their consequences”, The Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009 (official web page : p.1).

[9] See for instance Heurlin, 2001, chapter 8 ; Rynning, 2003, p.24 ; Christensen & Petersen, 2005, p.10.

[10] According to Danish Wikipedia, between 1960 and 2014 the Army has participated in 10 international missions, the Navy in 14, and the Air Force in 8. See :

[11] Anonymous, Beretning fra Forsvarskommissionen (Report from the Defence Committee), 2008 : “ is demanded that (Danish) Defence be in a position to conduct operations both for longer periods and periodically of the high-intensity type” (vol.2, p.421).

[12] SFI, 2012, pp.8-9.

[13] Sipri Yearbook, 2011.

[14] From 2009 to 2010, troop levels in Afghanistan rose from 84,000 to 132,000 soldiers, or by 57 %.

[16]B 8 2016 Vedtaget Forslag (November 10, 2015) til folketingsbeslutning om udsendelse af et supplerende dansk militært bidrag til støtte for indsatsen mod ISIL (Passed bill on a further deployed Danish military capacity in support of the fight against ISIL).

[17]Forsvarsavisen (Defence White Paper),February 2016, pp.4-6. Defence Minister Peter Christensen states : “I am impressed by the Armed Forces”, and “…we shall extend the Danish military to contribute more to Nato’s Fast Reaction Force”.

[18] CS-Bladet, n°2, 2014, p.24.

[19]This strange arrangement of “volunteer conscripts” is made possible by the fact that rank-and-file manpower requirements are much lower than the available pool of eligible, able-bodied young men and women in successive age-cohorts. With the result that, despite the legal obligation to serve theoretically imposed on all, only those youths who wish to serve are actually inducted into the forces.

[20]Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017, 2012, op.cit., p.3ff.

[21]Jyllandsposten July 25, 2009: 3 ”Historisk aftale om forsvaret på plads”(Historical Agreement Reached on Defence”)

[22]Peer Hansen et al., Den kolde krigs anlæg (Installations of the Cold War), KCopenhagen: Kulturstyrelsen 2013), 87 pp, here added Communication- (p 57: 115), Commando- (p 60: 136), Battle- (p 63: 53) and Education- (p 65: 87) installations, total : 391 installations of which around 100 are defined as either non-military and/or unmanned.

[23] Figures cited by Helle Kolding in CS, April 18, 2016.

[24]Table 2 : For personnel figures, see for 1970 Forsvarets Brevskole (1974) Kursus 42, Samfundskundskab 2 lektion 9,77 pp, here p. 21 or Årlig  redegørelse 1985 (Annual Report1985) p. 29 ; for 1990 Samfundstatistik 1999, p.127, table 27-1 ; for 2010,  Forsvarskommando, Årsrapport 2012, (Annual Report) p.42, note 1 ; for 2016, (retrieved 5 April 2016). N.B.: The number of conscripts is computed on the basis of a full year for one person (“årsværk”). For population statistics : Samfundsstatistik for respective years.For defence expenditures and defence expenditures and their share in the Gross National Product 1970, 1990, 2010 and 2016, see 6 April 2016). For the number of military installations 1990 (=1989), see Keld Jensen, Strukturudviklingen i forsvaret og dennes betydning for regionalgeografiske forhold (The Structural Development of the Armed Forces and Its Importance for Regional-geographical factors), Roskilde, RUC, 1994, 344pp., notably table 8, p.130 or table 15, p.138. For 2016 : Data from Helle Kolding, CS, 18 April 2016. Table 3 : For defence expenditures on soldiers abroad for 1990, see Finansministeriet, Forsvarsministeriet, Økonomiministeriet, Forsvarets økonomi,Copenhagen, April 1994), 140 pp., notably p.9, table 1. These expenditures rose ten times from 41 million to 431 million DKK over just four years. In 1998, the Danish UN deployment expenditures were fixed at 600 million DKK, ibid., table 3 p.133 ; for 2010, see Forsvarskommandoen, Årsrapport 2010 (Annual Report) Copenhagen, 64 pp., notably p.48, table 4.8.1. and table p.60. For the number of deployed Danish soldiers 2010 (n = 1281), see Forsvarskommandoen, Fakta om forsvaret (Facts on Defence) 2010, p.42 ; however, the figure mentioned in Danish Defence, Facts and Figures, (Copenhagen, February 2011, p.44) is 13% lower   (n = 1109) ; for 2016, see Jyllandsposten,April 1, 2016, p.4, Et presset forsvar…” (A Stressed Defence…”). The military will have to finance the costs of new operations with “existing money”. On the functions of the Chief of the Defence Staff in 1970, see Forsvarets brevskole, Samfundskundskab II, lektion 9, 77 pp., notably p.20 ; for 1981, see FKO, Organisation og bemanding (Organization and Manning),PA.234-1, May 1981.In 1970,the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) had full command over 49 functions, facilities, organizations ; for 2016, see Organiseringen og ledelsen af forsvaret og tillæg til aftale på forsvarsområdet (Defence Organization and Management, with Political Agreement 2014-2017), 10 April 2014 (encl. 4).The current Defence organizational chart shows that the CDS is now only responsible for seven staffs/commands: all three services, operations, special operations, Arctic operations, development. While operational headquarters are all located in Jutland, the Office of the CDS is in Copenhagen. See :

[25]Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017, op.cit., p.4: “The efficiency initiatives of the military shall not influence the future operative capacities [abroad] of Danish Defence”.

[26]Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017, op.cit., p.6: “All in all, Defence [shall] maintain (…) its capacity for international operations over the course of the [2014-2017] agreement period”.

[27]The newspaper Berlingske Tidende notes onFebruary 10, 1995 that “(…) the relocation of military installations is incredibly slow”.

[28]Vagts, 1959, p.13. The author’s well-known thesis, first advanced in the first (1937) edition of this book,  is that the (functionally legitimate) “military way” stands half-way between “militarism” (applying military solutions to civilian problems) and ”civilianization” (civilian solutions to the armed forces’ problems).

[29] Petersen, 1979, p.19ff.

[30] A 2014 directive (Forsvarskommandoen, Direktiv vedrørende decentral organisationsstyring,p.4) provided that henceforth responsible positions within the Defence ministry would go to officers only if their role includes specific military roles.

[31]In 2001, Defence Chief of Staff Christian Hvidt ignored the political will expressed by the chief of the Defence minister’s Office and his counterpart in the Ministry of foreign affairs not to vote for a Finnish general for the top post on the European Military Committee (see Jyllandsposten,April 30, 2001, feature article). His successor, Jesper Helsø, declared his support for Hvidt’s action. It should have led to his resignation especially as Helsø also publicly questioned the political decision that reduced the length of conscript service. The Defence Command tried to stop the publication of a book, Jæger – I krig med eliten (“A Ranger – At War with the Elite”) written by a special operations soldier from the Jægerkorpset arguing that it could damage the security of Danish soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. While the Defence Chief, Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen, supported the demand from the Defence Command, the Chief of Army Operations, Colonel Sommer, found no reason to do so. To prove the need for him to stop the publication of the book, the Permanent Secretary, Lars Findsen, told reporters that the book had been translated into Arabic, and was now available to the Talibans in Afghanistan, against whom Danish soldiers were fighting. In fact, it turned out that the Arabic translation was a Google translation fabricated by senior Defence Command officers (cf. Politiken,September 13, 2010, feature article). Adm. Tim Sloth Jørgensen paid the price and was fired, but no organizational changes were made. In 2011, the Danish Accounting Office criticized the military for its financial management (“Hård kritik af økonomistyring i forsvaret” [“Harsh Criticism of the Military’s Financial Management”], Berlingske,June 16, 2011). Last year, the then CDS, Gen. Peter Bartram, threatened armed forces personnel with public criticism. The Ombudsman, on his own initiative, decidedtolookatthiscase.See:

[32]As can be seen from the cases mentioned in the previous footnote, military professionalism suffers when top chiefs show subservience to unreasonable or devious political orders, or when officers start squabbling among themselves.

[33]Aftale på forsvarsområdet 2013-2017 (2012), op.cit., p.38ff.

[34]Ibid., p.38.

[35]Ibid., p.5.

[36] Ibid., p.5.

[37] See Caforio, 2000, “Introduction”, pp.7-18, notably p.11. Danish officer education offers another three of the six ingredients listed by Caforio: separation in time of military training and academic study, acceptance of military diplomas as valid in the civilian world (which makes leaving the military a less onerous bet for officers), and transformation of service academies from “total” to university-like institutions (which betrays a lesser emphasis on military socialization).

[38] Col. Eigil Schjønning, then commandant of the Hærens Officersskole (Army Cadet School) did so, but paid the price : he was fired. See Berlingske, November 9, 2013, “Kritisk oberst fyres fra chefjob” (“Critical Colonel Fired from Chief Post”) :

[39]Gen. Peter Bartram, “Fremtidens stærke ledere og chefer”, feature article in Berlingske, August 14, 2014.

[40]Cf. “Helbredsbetinget afskedigelse”, Fagbladet Officeren, n°2, 2016, p.39.

[42]Cf. “Ændret pensionsalder” (“Changed Retirement Age”), Fagbladet Officeren,n°1, 2016, pp.9-11 ; same title, CS-Bladet,n°1, 2016, p.6.

[43]“Forsvaret er et udenrigspolitisk instrument” (“Danish Defence is a foreign policy instrument”), Fagbladet Officeren, n°4, 2009, p.18.

[44]Arbejdsgruppen vedr. justering af forsvarets personnel- og uddannelsesstruktur, Bilag 32. Delrapport vedrørende seniorordninger (Report on Senior Arrangements), October 30, 2007, p.3.

[45]Cf. “Forsvaret har det skidt” (“The Armed Forces are not well”), Editorial, Berlingske, April 15, 2015, p.2. This article refers to a Human Resource survey which showed reduced job satisfaction among Danish defence employees from 81% in 2014 to 71% in April 2015 ; CS-bladet, Oct 2015, p.10, “HR-måling kræver handling” (“HR-Evaluation Demands Action”) reported a further drop to 68% in October 2015.

[46]Cf.JørnOlesen,“Skrækscenarietsvirkeliggørelse”(”TheRealisationoftheScenarioofFear”), Berlingske,March 12, 2014, p.16.

[47], “Officersuddannelser” (“Officer Education”), Fagbladet Officeren, n°2, 2016, p.19 : only “…half of the prescribed number of applicants for a place in the cadet schools have applied” before deadline.

[48] Rasmus Munch, “Regeringen og forsvarets ledelse har svigtet Danmark” (”The Government and the CDS have failed Denmark”), feature article in Berlingske, May, 19, 2008.

[49] “Hvad betyder ubalancen mellem arbejde og familieliv for karrieren” (“What does the unbalance of work and family mean for the career ?), Fagbladet Officeren,n°3, 2011, p.26ff.

[50]Ibid., “Walk the Talk”, Editorial, p.3.

[51]Anonymous, Forsvarsministeriets, 1992, notably p.105 : C.

[52]The Parliamentary Accounting Office, commenting on a recent report (Statsrevisorernes bemærkning til beretning nr.17/2008,of September 28, 2008) mentions a “personal shortage of NCOs and specialist functions such as logistics”.

[53]Notat til statsrevisorerne om beretning om forsvarets understøttelse af sine militære operationer i Afghanistan” (Memo to the Accounting Office as regards the report on support of the military´s operations in Afghanistan”) 2013, op.cit., p.3: “…the September 2009 report on the Armed Forces’ support of their military operations in Afghanistan (…) found military personnel under pressure, in particular in the specialist area.

[54]Ibid., p.3: “…there is still a shortage of specialists on international missions, and the number of soldiers currently deployed to Afghanistan betrays continued challenges of personnel deficiencies in spite of the initiatives of the Armed Forces”.

[55]“Vi mangler kolleger” (“We Miss Colleagues”), CS-Bladet,n°6, 2015, p.10ff.

[56]Danske Offícerer, n°6, 2015, editorial, p.3.

[58] Danish Defence, Global Engagement, Annex 2, p.361 : “Our dependency on specialists is a challenge for the present manning situation. At present, in the Air Force technical fields and air control officers are the primary problem areas”.

[59] Interview with Helle Kolding, Centralforeningen for Stampersonel, CS (Nco trade union), to which aircraft mechanics belong, April 15, 2016.

[60]“Teknikere med fornemmelse for fly”(“NewWave Air ForceTechnicians”,CS-bladet, n°2, 2016, pp.20-21.

[61]Repeated surveys reveal growing discontent with the Armed Forces among professional soldiers. See Berlingske,May 19, 2008, “Officerer advarer om sanmmenbrud” (“Officers Warn of Collapse”) or “Flugten fra forsvaret fortsætter” (“The Flight from the Military Goes On”) and note 45 above.

[62]This author has extensively written against such blindness – mostly in vain. See the Institut for Sociologisk Forskning (ISF) web page at under “civil, democratic control of the military”.

[63]Not that the Danish military completely ignores research. But is has so far privileged military psychology (which helps Major X exercise command authority over Private Y or Z) and political science (which helps Denmark govern the world). Numbers are revealing : Denmark counts around 50 military psychologists, as against 5 (independent) military sociologists, but up to 150 military political scientists, all of them variously teaching at the Defence College, Danmarks Institut for Internationale Studier (DIIS), Center for Militære Studier (CMS), or at the University of Copenhagen (financed via the Defence budget and with a board member from the Defence ministry who defines the subjects to be researched and taught).

[64] Huntington, 1957, op.cit., p.83.

[65]Janowitz, 1960.

[66] For a comparison of Huntington and Janowitz, see Henning Sørensen, ”New Perspectives on the Military Profession : The I/O Model and Esprit de Corps Reevaluated”, Armed Forces & Society, vol.20, n°4, Summer 1994, pp. 599-617.