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Denmark - Army

The total strength of the Army in 2015 was approximately 8,400 troops, with an additional intake of approximately 4,100 conscripts. In general terms, the Army comprises soldiers at three different levels of training - conscripts, soldiers on a Reaction Force contract and professional soldiers.

During the ten years 1995-2004 the Danish Army was restructured from a force exclusively dedicated to territorial defence, to an army able to project its influence anywhere in the world. The most significant change so far has been the formation of the Danish Reaction Brigade. This Brigade is available not only for local defence tasks but also for peacekeeping or humanitarian operations under the auspices of the UN and crisis response operations as part of the NATO Allied Command Europe Reaction Corps (ARRC). Other units on higher readiness are the Light Recce Squadron, CIMIC COY, UAV plus a number of smaller units which all have high standards of training and readiness and are “earmarked” for international operations. At lower readiness but also deployable are the Danish Division units.

In March 2004, in order to reflect the new security environment and meet the new requirements from NATO, the Danish Government presented its plan for a complete restructuring of the Danish Army, calling for a more deployable Army, equipped with material of high standards and world climate capabilities. Conscription would remain fundamental to this but with a new purpose aimed at homeland security. Suitable volunteers will be selected to undergo an advanced additional nine-month training, preparing them to serve as regular or part time soldiers in deployable units. It is foreseen, that the Army should be able to participate in international operations with 1,500 - 2,000 soldiers continuously.

Defence Agreement 2013-2017

On 30 November 2012 the Danish coalition government (the Social Democrats, the Social-Liberal Party and the Socialist People's Party) and the ‘Venstre’ (the liberal party), the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives entered into the an agreement regarding the Danish defence for the period 2013-2017.

The Army's current six combat battalions were to be restructured into three larger standing battalion combat commands with the ability to increase force generation, and thus the ability to support a protracted commitment with a large contribution, such as a battalion combat command. One standing combat command will be in a state of high preparedness. The level of preparedness will be adapted to the situation. The combat command - or parts of it - can at short notice be deployed as a self-sustained military ground contribution or as a contribution to a task force for humanitarian missions, for instance.

The ability is maintained to make the transition to force generation in support of a protracted commitment. The necessary capabilities for a battalion combat command can be provided through a combination of standing and generated forces. It is essential to set a robust procedure for a timely set-up, training and deployment of subsequent groups. The army`s tank capability which was previously entered as tank sub units in the basic set-up, will also be able to transform to deploying contributions in longer missions.

Defence Agreement 2010 – 2014

Experiences from deploying Army contingents in international operations show that the Army primarily deploys units of battalion size, to which elements of all the branches of arms of the Army can be assigned: so-called battlegroups. However, so far this fact has not been adequately reflected in the Army’s operational structure, leading to a practice of Army units being broken up and reconfigured from deployment to deployment in connection with international operations.

On this basis, there is agreement that the Army’s operational structure should be focused around the battlegroup level and modified so as to meet the requirements of long-term deployments in international operations. Furthermore, the areas where the present manpower level is too small are to be strengthened, which in turn will enhance the ability to maintain the simultaneous deployment of several contingents in long-term international operations and thus enable the Army to meet the defined level of ambition.

Besides the ability to deploy battlegroups, the Army must maintain an ability at longer notice to deploy a brigade-sized formation. Support units must be modular and capable of being deployed within the framework of battlegroups. The Army maintains a fire-support capability that is designed for deployment in international operations.

The number of main battle tanks is to be reduced. This measure entails that the number of operational Leopard 2 main battle tanks is to be reduced from 57 to approx. 34. The Army’s overall fire-support capability is to be reduced. This entails, for example, the decommissioning of the Army’s present and obsolete long-range, fire-support system: the self-propelled M109 howitzers. The Army’s air-defence capability is to be decommissioned. This measure entails that the Danish Armed Forces’s ability to conduct land-based active defence against aircraft and helicopter threats is eliminated. The control and early warning component, however, is to be preserved and transferred to the Air Force, where it is to be merged with the Air Force’s control and early warning capability. The Army’s anti-tank missile capability is to be decommissioned. This measure entails the abolition of the Army’s long-range, anti-tank missile units.

Defence Agreement 2005-2009

The Army's capacity for rapid deployment of forces to prevent crises from occurring or developing further will be additionally strengthened, at the same time as maintaining forces abroad for a longer period of time and to a greater extent than before. Accordingly, the Army will be grouped in two brigades under the framework of the Danish Division. The Danish Division staff and divisional troops, as well as one of the brigades, will primarily consist of professional soldiers, while the other brigade will primarily comprise soldiers on a response-force contract.

The brigades will be organised to enable the flexible deployment of a relevant military contingent according to the tasks and terms of the actual operations. It is presumed that the deployment and logistics are planned and continuously tested in conjunction with exercises, participation in NATO's Response Force, etc., so as to include the Navy and Air Force in this process in relation to sea and air transporting, enabling military forces to be deployed on short notice.

The Danish Division, and affiliated brigades and divisional troops, are to be affiliated with the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps headquartered in Rheindahlen, Germany, and it will also be possible to affiliate the units with the Multinational Corps North East, headquartered in Poland. Furthermore, Denmark will continue to participate in the Multinational Standby Forces High Readiness Brigade for UN operations (SHIRBRIG) with a headquarters company, a reconnaissance unit, a military police unit and staff personnel. The forces designated to SHIRBRIG will be obtained from the Army's two brigades.

The 2005-2009 accord parties agreed that Denmark must work for a development of SHIRBRIG, so that the multinational brigade - besides peacekeeping operations on the basis of chapter VI of the UN Charter - can be deployed with more robust units in peacemaking operations on the basis of chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The compulsory military service was reorganised so the training programme enables the conscripts to perform national tasks in a total defence context. The training program is aimed at individual military training that enables the soldier to perform tasks in uncertain environments and at training that enables the soldier to function in small units, under leadership, and perform tasks in a total defence context and which includes training in total-defence capabilities (e.g., fire fighting, emergency response, maintaining law and order, etc.). Thus, the training program is primarily aimed at total defence effort within Denmark, whereas the training of soldiers for actual combat units requires a considerably longer training programme in the form of a nine-month long training of reaction forces which is available to anyone who might be interested in this, with a view to permanent employment in the armed forces or deployment in international operations.

Additionally conscripts will continue to be used for tasks related to the obligations of Danish Defence towards the Royal Family, including the Life Guard and Calvary Squadron. The readiness obligation of these conscripts, who are called up for 8 and 12 months respectively, ceases after their tour of duty.

Based on the above, under the Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009, the Army was reorganised as followed:

  • Two brigades, Sjællandske Kampgruppe (Sealand Task Force), Jysk Kampgruppe (Jutland Task Force), the task force under the Danish Division, the Army Operational Command's reconnaissance battalion, as well as the combat battalions - five in all - of the territorial defence will be disbanded. In addition, a number of divisional troops will be disbanded, including Squadron 724 (an anti-tank helicopter company) that is part of the Air Force's present organisation). The helicopters will subsequently be used for the for the forming of a helicopter observation and light transport detachment.
  • The Danish Division and staff, one communication unit, and one communication centre based in Haderslev and divisional troops in the form of one standing telegraph battalion, and one electronic reconnaissance company in Fredericia, one cadre-manned military police company in Aalborg, one standing engineers battalion in Skive, one standing artillery unit consisting of staff, target reconnaissance battery and unit for managing air support in Oksbøl, a UAV battery (unmanned air vehicles for reconnaissance) and air-defence missile unit in Varde. In addition to this a company for civilian, military cooperation (CIMIC), to be located in Vordingborg. The accord parties will decide on how the CIMIC-capacity could be strengthened based on the evaluation of lessons learned within the defence agreement period.
  • 1. brigade consisting primarily of professional personnel is to be established with a staff and staff company in Haderslev, one standing armoured battalion in Holstebro, one standing mechanized infantry battalion in Høvelte, one standing reconnaissance battalion in Slagelse, one standing light reconnaissance squadron on Bornholm, one standing logistics battalion and one standing military police company in Aalborg, one standing armoured engineers company in Skive and one partly standing artillery unit in Varde. The brigade is designated to NATO at high readiness.
  • 2. brigade primarily comprising personnel on response-force contracts is to be established with staff and staff company, one cadre-manned mechanized infantry battalion in Slagelse, one cadre-manned mechanized infantry battalion in Høvelte, one cadre-manned mechanized infantry battalion in Holstebro, one cadre-manned artillery unit in Varde, one cadre-manned armoured engineers company in Skive, one cadre-manned logistics battalion and one cadre-manned military police company in Aalborg, as well as one standing, light reconnaissance squadron on Bornholm. The brigade is designated to NATO at lower readiness.
  • The Danish Operational Logistics Group is to be established primarily based on permanent personnel in Vordingborg.
  • The Jæger Corps (special forces) shall be increased to approximately 135 specially trained soldiers.
  • Basic training is to be established in Aalborg, Skive, Holstebro, Fredericia, Varde, Slagelse, Høvelte and Vordingborg.
  • The Army's school structure is to be adapted to the actual need. The Army's basic sergeant training programmes will be gathered in Sønderborg.
  • The three military bands within the Army's organisation are maintained.
  • Sjælsmark Barracks will be sold, whereas the training grounds in Melby will be closed, and an attempt will be made to exchange the army range in Hevring, which will be demobilised. A garrison support unit will be established at other establishments.

The Defence Budget was based on a calculated figure equivalent of some 2,150 full-time conscripts for the Army per year, corresponding to the actual calling in of approximately 6,000 conscripts each year. The total number of permanent personnel amounts to approximately 9,150 full-time equivalents, and the number of response force contracts amount to roughly 4,070, for which 27,800 sustainment training days have been earmarked.

In the placement of the Army's units and authorities, priority has been given to a balanced number of units in relation to regional considerations, an expedient utilisation of barracks, including structural condition and environmental factors, as well as educational aspects, including exercise grounds, whereby the subsequent consolidation of the various modifications may bring about a need for additional changes.

The following Army equipment was procured:

  • Staff exercise simulation system (tactical simulation system for Army command training).
  • Command and control systems (C3I) (communication and command systems).
  • Reconnaissance vehicles.
  • Infantry combat vehicles, whereby a number of M113 armoured personnel carriers and 180 (Leopard 1) tanks are to be phased out.
  • Armoured wheeled vehicles.
  • Preliminary acquisition of a modern fire-support system.
  • Rescue vehicles.
  • Engineering equipment.
  • Logistics (part I and II).
  • Climatic equipment.
  • Update of the Field Hospital.
  • Tactical vehicles, as well as special equipment for the Army Special Operations Forces.
  • ABC equipment for joint military utilisation.

Conscripts undergo the Army's basic training programme. They receive basic military training, which gives them the ability to operate in teams of approximately ten in a combat environment. They also acquire skills that will enable them to support the emergency services and contribute to the overall defence operations.

On completion of the basic army training program, the conscripts are offered the opportunity to continue in the Army Reaction Force, which trains soldiers for international missions. For eight months, the soldiers train and prepare for the role they are to play in Afghanistan or Lebanon, for example, after which they are deployed on six-month missions.

After the soldiers have served a tour of duty abroad, they have two options. They can continue to serve as professional soldiers in the Army's operational units, or they can leave the Armed Forces. The professional soldiers can, at short notice, be deployed in international operations. Professional soldiers are normally deployed in international operations once every three years.

Units from the army included work with devices from police, emergency services, Home Guard and others in the national preparedness, and around the clock ready for deployment at major incidents and disasters that require special skills and or resources to ensure life and / or values. In addition, there army of special equipment that can be used as a supplement to the rest of the defense components available.

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