Military shake up

Government looking to have more control over armed forces

The military's senior defence command, Forsvarskommandoen, is set to be dismantled and integrated into the Defence Ministry's civilian structure, the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), announced yesterday.

“The government has decided it is time to modernise the leadership of the armed forces,” Hækkerup told the press. “We want to accomplish this by integrating civilian and military leadership.”

The changes are part of a larger reorganisation aimed at saving 3 billion kroner in overall defence spending and come after a government audit last year was sharply critical of the military’s financial management. 

Hækkerup said that having military brass and civil servants work together would be one way to increase efficiency.

“There will still be a defense commander that will be the top military adviser to the defence minister,” said Hækkerup. “The military competences will be the same, only now they will be part of the ministry.”

Hækkerup declined to say exactly how the merger would happen, but according to TV 2 news, Army Gen Peter Bartram, the military's chief of staff, will be given a position within the ministry. There is little doubt that there will be layoffs throughout Forsvarskommandoen's 300 employees, a third of whom are civiliains.

While in the opposition, Hækkerup made no secret that he felt the Defence Minsitry should have greater control over the military.

“It made sense during the Cold War years to separate the command from the ministry, but it does not make sense today,” said Hækkerup.