Military failing in its Arctic responsibilities

The state auditors found that the military has not evaluated the risk of pollution and does not have sufficient manpower or equipment to perform key tasks

Denmark has not lived up to its responsibilities in the Arctic Sea, according to a new report by the state auditor, Rigsrevisionen.

The military has been heavily criticised for not living up to its commitments in the Arctic.

“The state auditors found that the military's efforts dedicated to enforcing sea environment laws and monitoring the ocean around Greenland and the Faroe Islands to be inadequate,” Rigsrevisionen wrote in its findings.

Insufficient resources
Rigsrevisionen found that, in the nine years that the military has been responsible for the area, it still has not adequately controlled whether environmental regulations that came into effect in 2004 have been obeyed, including controlling ships that are transporting hazardous materials.

Additionally, the report criticises the military for not having evaluated the risk of pollution and not having sufficient manpower or equipment to perform its tasks.

Rigsrevisionen also found that Denmark’s ability to handle search and rescue operations in the region was below par.

Taking into consideration
The military said it would take Rigsrevisionen’s findings into consideration. At the moment the military is completing a risk asessment of threats to the Arctic.

“When the asessment is complete, it will be relevant for organisations operating in the Arctic region, the military included, to go through efforts in the area and adjust accordingly if required,” Navy Captain Anders Beck Jørgensen, the head of the military's planning and training section, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

The news comes in the wake of a report in late June that found that Denmark's ability to handle oil spills in the Arctic region was woefully inadequate.

Read the Rigsrevisionen report here (in Danish)