The armed forces of the Kingdom of Denmark, known as the Danish Defence (Danish: Forsvaret) is charged with the defence of the Kingdom of Denmark.
The Chief of Defence is the head of the Danish Armed Forces, and is head of the Defence Command which is managed by the Ministry of Defence. Constitutionally, the Commander-in-Chief is the head of state (Queen Margrethe II); in practice, it is the Cabinet. Also, the Cabinet cannot mobilize the armed forces, for purposes that are not strictly defence oriented, without the consent of parliament.
Denmark also has a concept of "total defence" (Danish: Totalforsvar).
Purpose and task
The purpose and task of the armed forces of Denmark is defined in Law no. 122 of February 27, 2001 and in force since March 1, 2001. It defines 3 purposes and 6 tasks.
Its primary purpose is to prevent conflicts and war, preserve the sovereignty of Denmark, secure the continuing existence and integrity of the independent Kingdom of Denmark and further a peaceful development in the world with respect to human rights.
Its primary tasks are; NATO participation in accordance with the strategy of the alliance, detect and repel any sovereignty violation of Danish territory (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), defence cooperation with non-NATO members, especially Central and East European countries, international missions in the area of conflict prevention, crises-control, humanitarian, peacemaking, peacekeeping, participate in Total Defence in cooperation with civilian resources and finally maintain a sizable force to execute these tasks at all times.
Since 1988, Danish defence budgets and security policy have been set by multi-year agreements supported by a wide parliamentary majority including government and opposition parties. However, public opposition to increases in defence spending — during a period when economic constraints require reduced spending for social welfare — has created differences among the political parties regarding a broadly acceptable level of new defence expenditure.
The latest Defence agreement ("Defence agreement 2005-2009") was signed June 10, 2004, and calls for a significant re-construction of the entire military. From now about 60% support structure and 40% combat operational capability, it is to be 40% support structure and 60% combat operational capability. E.g. more combat soldiers and fewer 'paper'-soldiers. The reaction speed is increased, with an entire brigade on standby readiness; the military retains the capability to continually deploy 2,000 soldiers in international service or 5,000 over a short time span. The standard mandatory conscription is modified. Generally this means fewer conscripts, less service time for them and only those who choose to will continue into the reaction force system.
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