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Special Operations Command

The current special operations forces of the defense are made up of the Jaeger Corps and the Frogman Corps. The Navy Special Forces were established in 1957 and the Army Special Forces in 1961. The Navy and the Army have both considered the special forces units as ‘their’ units, established to support their respective operations. This fact explains, to a large extent, the weak development of Danish special operations forces.

Denmark developed special operations units based on the two services’ focus on their tactical tasks: land military operations in the Army and maritime operations in the Navy. However, special operations do not focus on land or sea. They target the enemy’s strategic centre of gravity and critical vulnerabilities wherever they may appear. Special operations are thus, by nature, joint. Precisely this difference means that neither the Army nor the Navy is particularly interested in special operations. The three services generally operate independently, and there is no tradition of joint thinking in the Armed Forces.

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.

There is a need to strengthen and increase the overall future Danish special operations capacities, including the capacities of the air force in order to establish a future robust special operations capability. Subject to an ongoing transverse priority in the Danish armed forces, the special operations forces of the defence will - be able to contribute with capabilities for international operations and efforts in the framework of the UN and NATO, among others, as independent contributions, or participate in a national or multinational task force.

The Parties to the Defence Agreement agreed that synergy can be obtained for continued development of special operations and the training of special operations forces, as well as increased flexibility for deployment in operations uniting the Jaeger Corps and the Frogman Corps in a joint special operations force capability. The starting point is also in the future to target the special operations forces to the strategic challenges, rather than the present tactical focus. The special operations forces will be organized under a permanent Special Operations Command and placed immediately under the chief of defence.

The Special Operations Command must define policy and doctrine, as well as define training needs, resource management and administration, defence procurement, personnel management, and logistics responsibility. The organization shall be robust in terms of size and be fully able to carry out the tasks described. In management level terms it should match an operational command. The key is to establish a joint services strategic special operations environment, cover the operational support functions, and secure short and clear chains of command between the upper level of responsibility and operational special operations capacities.

The Parties to the Defence Agreement were fully committed to the establishment and initiation of the Special Operations Command. They will be informed every six months about the status and progress of the development of the joint command and control structure. The structure of the Special Operations Command will be initiated in 2013 and is expected to be fully established in 2017. DKK 50 million a year is earmarked upon full implementation.

The Parties to the Defence Agreement agreed to merge the two special operations forces under a single command and control structure. On the basis of the overall determined limits and directives, the Special Operations Command is responsible for preparing the foundation, i.e. demands and conditions for training, and the criteria for ensuring training of support units of the defence. This will enable the units to be deployed in support of special operations, such as transport aircraft, helicopters, command support units, and logistic units to a relevant extent in relation to being part of a joint services operational force.

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