Confusion over Defence Command’s future

Defence minister rejects newspaper’s claim that government is abandoning its plan to close the Forsvarskommando

It seems that the future of the military's senior defence command, Forsvarskommandoen, could go either way.


Today, the defence minister, Nikolai Wammen (Socialdemokraterne), said they are going to continue to 'modernise' the leadership of the Defence Command and the Defence Ministry, in response to an article in Politiken newspaper claiming that the government had abandoned merging the two institutions.


“The government still intends to modernise the top administration of the national defence,” he told Politiken.


READ MORE: Military shake-up


It was not possible to get the Defence Ministry to comment on what it meant by ‘modernising’, and a spokesperson told The Copenhagen Post that the ministry was eager to find out where Politiken had gotten its information.


The fusion of the departments would change the distribution of power in the military and give the government more control over Denmark's armed forces, thereby putting Chief of Defence Peter Bartram’s position in jeopardy.


Looking for compromise

Politiken wrote that the Defence Ministry was abandoning the fusion to calm down the heated debate over defence legislation in parliament.


Critics of the current structure argue that it allows the defence minister to wash his hands of problematic situations and instead pass blame onto the Defence Command when mistakes are made.


Instead of closing down the command and merging it with the Defence Ministry, the government will try to reach a less radical compromise with the opposition parties Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti, all of which feared that a fusion would end up mixing political and military interests.


The restructuring would allow the state to save money by reducing the number of ‘double functions’ between the command and the ministry. If the government does not intend to close down the command, the chief of defence would not have to worry about his position after all, according to Politiken.


While the future of the Defence Command seems undecided for now, the parliamentary negotiations on changing the defence legislation are expected to be concluded in November.