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Army has too few soldiers to defend Denmark, says top general

Sebastian Haw
March 27th, 2023


It’s time for an ’emergency call’ to address the worst situation he has seen in four decades of soldiering, reasons Henrik Lyhne

Soldiers are leaving the Danish army faster than they left Afghanistan (photo: Boing-boing)

A top army general has warned that Denmark’s military is not fulfilling its commitment to NATO and would be insufficient in the event of war, reports TV2.

General Henrik Lyhne pointed to serious problems within the armed forces stemming from a shortage of soldiers and equipment. 

“This is an emergency call,” he told TV2. “The situation is extremely critical, especially because we lack soldiers like never before. I have been in the Armed Forces for 40 years, and it has never looked so bad.”

Feeble firepower 
While the Danish Army does have battle-ready soldiers, Lyhne argues that there would not be nearly enough to repel an attack by Russia, for example. 

“This basically means we are unable to deliver safety and security like we should be able to,” added the general.

Denmark is meeting only 3 out of 17 ‘strength targets’ laid out by the Ministry of Defence, TV2 reports.

And the Danish Army is not meeting NATO’s targets, either. The military coalition evaluated that Denmark suffers a “critical deficit of combat capability” and “would probably be practically useless in intense combat”.

Limp fist
The most pressing issue for the Danish Army is its lack of battle-ready soldiers.

The 1st Brigade, known as the ‘Army’s Fist’, is 1,000 soldiers short of the 4,000 it requires to be at full strength.

Not much of a fist then. But what is required to make Denmark’s military sufficiently resistant to potential threats?

According to General Lyhne, it is investment today, and not tomorrow. It will not be cheap, but with the threat posed by Russia, it is important to show a united and powerful military in all NATO countries.

Big problems
Low pay and dilapidated barracks have been cited as reasons for the lack of new army recruits.

Beyond that, soldiers often go on stress leave, in part because they have to do extra shifts as a result of the large number of people quitting the army.

The problem is not technology – Denmark’s military equipment can compete with the best in the world – it is just that there is no-one to man it.

In General Lyhne’s opinion, only immediate investment can fix these issues and put the punch back in the army’s fist.

An (even more) united Nordic air defence
In other news, Nordic countries have signed an agreement to intensify their already solid co-operation on air defence.

The agreement is intended to develop common strategies and promote better communication. It is based on already established NATO models.

In a world where militarisation is on the rise, perhaps small nations such as the Nordics will have to co-operate even further, or risk being attacked by superpowers like Russia.


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