New defence chief named

Prime minister sees the new commander as an ideal candidate to modernise Danish military

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced yesterday that brigadier general Peter Bartram has been chosen as the new defence chief.

Bartram 50, was based in the United States as assistant chief-of-staff at the NATO Allied Command, but now takes over the reigns at the top military post in Denmark.

Thorning-Schmidt confirmed the new selection at a press conference yesterday, saying that Bartram’s versatile background is ideal for modifying the military.

“The appointment of Bartram is a clear message that we want a competent defence chief with international experience,” Throrning-Schmidt told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “The move goes to show that we have started the modernisation project of the military.”

The position had become available after the former defence chief, Knud Bartels, moved to NATO to take over as head of the alliance's military committee.

The military has been under fire recently following several recent scandals, including a book that was published revealing classified and discrete incidences involving the elite Danish military unit Jægerkorpset and ongoing revelations about the potential torture of prisoners taken by the Danish military in both Iraq and Afghanistan.