According to a NATO report on Danish defense capabilities, Denmark has a poorly equipped and unprepared brigade.   The shop steward of the soldiers’ union asserts that the main problem is that “poor” conditions within the Danish defense make it difficult to retain professional soldiers.   The NATO report states that “until Denmark improves its combat strength and the readiness of its brigade, the country will be ill equipped and ill-prepared to engage in major, large-scale operations against comparable enemy forces.”  That is the exacting conclusion of a NATO analysis of the current strength, or lack of the same, of the Danish infantry, from June 5, 2018.  The report covers the period from the present to 2023.  It was produced in the wake of the six-year defense agreement from January 2018, when a broad political majority agreed to increase spending on Danish defense by DKK 12.8 billion in the period up to 2023.  In addition, NATO notes that Danish defense “does not have current plans to provide a requested heavy infantry capacity – a key component in the brigade.”  In the preface to the report, NATO describes Denmark as “facing more serious threats than at any period since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

4,000 Combat-ready troops

“We face challenges regarding the strength of the brigade.   I agree about that.   The Americans do not believe that a brigade that can only deploy 180 days after they have pushed the button, has much utility.  And that is the situation according to the terms of the defense agreement from last year,” commented Peter Viggo Jakobsen of the Institute of Strategy at the Defense College.  On the other hand, he does not fully support the notion that Demark faces its greatest threat level since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Of course, challenges exist regarding terrorism, migration, instability and cyber-attacks.  But, we ought to be wary of saying that Denmark faces more dangers now than at any point from the early 1990s to the end of the millennium, where the threat level was basically zero.  Seen in that light, it doesn’t mean much that it is more dangerous now.   And why have things suddenly become more dangerous after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and after their conflict with Ukraine?   This is clearly something that NATO remarks upon because they, like the Americans, is trying to put pressure on Denmark to bring its defense budget up to two percent of GDP.”  He added that both the Ministry of Defense and defense leaders are well aware of the conclusions of the NATO report.  On several occasions, Chief of Defense, Bjørn Ingemann Bisserup, has underscored the fact that recruitment and the retention of personnel with special skills is the military’s biggest challenge.  This is the root of the problem of providing NATO with a top Danish brigade of 4,000 combat-ready troops.

In addition, these brigade soldiers should be heavily armed after 2023.  That means they should have heavy armor at their disposal and be equipped with anti-aircraft systems such as, for example, Stinger or extra-large Hawk batteries.