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Danish Home Guard

The Danish Home Guard (Hjemevaernet) was formed in 1948 from former resistance workers who, suspicious of the armed forces after the catastrophic events of 1940, vowed to maintain a strong civilian defense force.

The Danish Home Guard is an organisation for people, who - on a voluntary basis - want to take part in the defence and the support of the country. The Home Guard is present all over the country. With its military organisation, its command structure, and the means of communication the Home Guard can be activated to support the civilian society in many ways, also during peacetime. This support is related to assistance to the police during national disasters, search-and-rescue operations, etc.

The Home Guard has approximately 49,000 members (end 2009), of which well 7200 (approximately 15 percent) are women. The members are divided into home guard Active Strength with good 20,000 members and the rest of the Home Guard Reserve. In order to remain a part of the active strength should hjemmeværnssoldaterne maintain their skills by at least 24 hours of annual service. Most uses, however, far more time. An active hjemmeværnssoldat uses an average of 18 hours per month on the activities of the home guard. Both men and women from the age of 18 can apply for membership of the Home Guard, and a military background is not necessary. The wish and the will to participate is more important.

When membership has been granted, members are admitted into one of the following branches :

  1. The Army Home Guard
  2. The Naval Home Guard
  3. The Air Force Home Guard
  4. The Infra-structure Home Guard

The overall mission for the Home Guard is to reinforce and to support the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force in fulfilling their missions. Related to this overall mission, the common military tasks of the Home Guard are surveillance and reporting; guarding, securing, and protection activities; limited and uncomplicated combat operations.

The Danish Home Guard was founded in 1949, initially consisting of former members of the Resistance Movement from the occupation during the years 1940 to 1945. In 1948, the Danish Parliament passed the first Home Guard Act. Throughout the years this act has been kept up-to-date, but the fundamental principles still remain the same as they were back in 1948. The actual act is from 1982 with minor modifications since then - latest in 1993.

Defence Agreement 2005-2009

Under the Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009, the disbanding of the mobilisation defence and the territorial defence, in their previous form, makes it possible for the Home Guard to target its efforts on total defence. The overarching structure of the Home Guard will be divided into an active and a passive structure.

It is a prerequisite that personnel in the Home Guard's active structure have undergone the by law required training of 250-300 hours within the first three years of service, including a 100 hours basic training programme, in order to be issued weapons. In order to remain part of the active structure a minimum of 24 hours operationally relevant service is required each year. An additional requirement for annual shooting practice and training is laid down for personnel, who have a weapon issued. The active structure is made up of personnel with an adequate training level, which will be evaluated annually.

The active members of the Home Guard are, pending their level of activity in activities of the Home Guard, part of the Home Guard's reaction force, the Naval Home Guard's seaborne units and other units within the Home Guard. In particular the tasks of the so-called 3,000 man force will be refocused in order to allow the Home Guard to provide a similar reaction force divided across the five Local Defence Regions in the future called Total Defence Regions. The aforementioned personnel will be trained equivalently to the total defence training given to conscripts in the Armed Forces. It is foreseen that the Home Guard will be aimed at total defence and joint contributions together with the National Rescue Preparedness Corps and the Total Defence Force. The Home Guard will among others provide a command structure within the Total Defence Regions, in which the other parts of the Armed Forces contribute 800-1,200 reserve officers and NCOs able to command personnel and formations from the Home Guards and the Total Defence Force.

When employed the Naval Home Guard will continue to be part of the navy's operational structure, taking part in the national maritime tasks, including general maritime surveillance, assistance to among others the police and the Customs Service. The Naval Home Guard will also take part in the maritime environmental preparedness and search and rescue organisation. Measures of effectiveness for the operational tasks are to be laid down, including the ability to react on alerts.

The passive structure of the Home Guard constitutes the remaining members of the Home Guard, who will not be issued equipment and weapons.

To exploit the synergy between the capacities of Danish Defence and the Home Guard, the Home Guard is to be incorporated into the support structure of Danish Defence. In addition to this, integration in the future total defence structure is being considered in conjunction with considerations on how to incorporate the tasks of the civilian readiness in Danish Defence. Further integration is to be implemented so that the Home Guard maintains its identity.

Personnel who have completed the conscript training program provided by the other armed forces may join the Home Guard forthwith on a voluntary basis, in order to be utilised in the task force mounted by the Home Guard for performing total defence tasks.

On this basis, the Home Guard is to be reorganised as follows:

  • The Home Guard will be divided into an active and a passive structure.
  • The future role of the Home Guard Command is to be evaluated further and in connection with the considerations concerning the possible integration of the National Rescue Preparedness Corps's structure and tasks into the general structure of the Armed Forces as laid down in this document paragraph 12. The Home Guard is to have a seat in the working group.
  • The Home Guard is to be integrated into the defence support structure.
  • The local defence regions are to be called total defence regions. Regions and districts are to be reorganised according to need.
  • The tasks of the so-called "3000-man force" are to be redefined, and a task force of corresponding size is to be established and dispersed among the five total defence regions.
  • Utilising the 800-1,200 reserve officers and NCOs a command structure is to be established in each of the five regions capable of commanding the total defence force when activated.
  • The military authorities of the Home Guard are to be serviced in future by Danish Defence's remaining depot and maintenance structure.

The Home Guard's appropriation of approximately DKK 700 million (2004 price index) is to be scaled down concurrent to the integration within Danish Defence's support structure and to the redefinition of the Home Guard's tasks and organisation to an appropriation of approximately DKK 430 million (2004 price index). The following equipment is to be acquired for the Home Guard:

  • Personal equipment for high priority units.
  • Five vessels to replace five MHV 90 class vessels.
  • Simulation equipment (including naval simulator)
  • Equipment for containing terrorism activities (equipment for surveillance, guarding, barricading, etc.).
  • Maritime environmental equipment for the Naval Home Guard vessels.
  • Communication equipment.
  • Observation equipment.
The Home Guard shall also take over relevant equipment that has been phased out by the Armed Forces.

Defence Agreement 2010 – 2014

Defence Agreement 2013-2017

The Parties to the Defence Agreement agreed that the home guard's overall structure, including the relationship between the home guard districts and police districts, as well as existing capacities of the national and international tasks, is to be retained, but continually sought to be made more efficient and developed. The role of the home guard in relation to supporting and assisting the defence in both national and international tasks must be strengthened.

The Total Defence Region of Funen and Southern Jutland, the Total Defence Region of Northern and Central Jutland, and the Total Defence Region of Zealand will be merged to form, respectively, Total Defence Region West covering Denmark west of the Great Belt, and Total Defence Region East covering Denmark east of the Great Belt. The home guard district structure will be further streamlined.

The home guard supports the collective search and rescue service. The home guard is to contribute to the maritime effort in the coastal zone by providing a command and communication structure to support the emergency services of other actors, and support efforts in general. In cooperation with the Danish Emergency Management Agency, the home guard will also man and operate shallow water vessels inshore where environmental ships cannot operate. The air force home guard capabilities are also used in the combined marine environmental effort in the coastal zone, among other places.

The home guard will provide a capacity-structuring unit to carry out its contribution to the military capacity structure, civilian reconstruction, and other international contributions.

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Page last modified: 16-11-2015 17:59:21 ZULU