Military of Iceland

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Iceland, a NATO member, maintains no standing army, navy, or air force. There is however no legal impediment to forming one, and Iceland does maintain forces such as an Air Defense System which conducts ground surveillance of Iceland's air space. The Crisis Response Unit (ICRU), which is a small peacekeeping force, has been deployed internationally. It also has a Coast Guard consisting of three ships and four aircraft and armed with small arms, naval artillery, and Air Defense weaponry, a well trained National Police force, and the Vikingasveitin, a highly trained and equipped counter terrorism unit within the (civil) police force. These services perform many of the operations fellow NATO allies relegate to their standing armies. There is in addition, a treaty with the United States for military defenses and formerly maintained a military base, Naval Air Station Keflavik, in Iceland until September 2006, when U.S. military forces withdrew. This base is currently maintained by the newly formed "Icelandic Defence Agency", but the current government plans to merge it with the Coast Guard. There are also agreements about military and other security operations with Norway,[1][2] Denmark[3][4][5] and other NATO countries.

Iceland holds the annual NATO exercises entitled Northern Viking. The most recent exercises were held in 2008,[6] as well as the EOD exercise "Northern Challenge". In 1997 Iceland hosted its first Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercise, "Cooperative Safeguard", which is the only multilateral PfP exercise so far in which Russia has participated. Another major PfP exercise was hosted in 2000. Iceland has also contributed ICRU peacekeepers to SFOR, KFOR and ISAF.

The government of Iceland contributes financially to NATO's international overhead costs and recently has taken a more active role in NATO deliberations and planning. Iceland hosted the NATO Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Reykjavík in June 1987. Norway has also agreed to grant Icelandic citizens the same eligibility as Norwegian citizens for military education in Norway and to serve as professional soldiers in the Norwegian Defence forces.[7]

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