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Defence cooperation

Denmark has actively cooperated with Estonia in the field of military defence since early 1990's.

Defence Attaché 
The Danish Defence Attaché at the Danish Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania is accredited to all three Baltic States. The Defence Attaché is working towards maintaining as well as promoting the extensive bilateral cooperation between Denmark and the Baltic States within the area of military defence. The first Danish Defence Attaché was accredited to Estonia in 1992. The current Defence Attaché is Colonel Niels Henrik Johansen, who has had the position since 2018.

NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) 
At the NATO Warsaw Summit in June 2016, the member states decided to strengthen NATO´s presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. A “permanent rotational enhanced Forward Presence (eFP)” of NATO troops was agreed upon. The agreement led to the establishment of four multinational battlegroups, one stationed in each country. Germany and Canada is lead-nation of the eFP battlegroup in Lithuania and Latvia respectively whereas United Kingdom is lead-nation in Estonia. From 2018 onwards in even years, Denmark is contributing with a unit of 200 of the 1.000 soldiers in the eFP battlegroup stationed in Tapa, Estonia. In uneven years, Denmark is contributing with staff officers attached to the UK eFP Command and the 1st (Estonian) Infantry Brigade.

NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP)
Because the Baltic States does not have the full capability themselves, NATO has since 2004 enforced the aerial sovereignty of the Baltic States through the BAP mission. Denmark has actively contributed to the BAP Mission by participating in seven rotations so far: in 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019. In 2014, the Ämari Air Base in Estonia hosted the Danish fighter jets, while the remaining six BAP missions have been conducted from Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania. The next rotation covering the last months of 2021 will take place from Lithuania with four Danish F-16 aircraft supported by approximately 60 personnel.

NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups
Navies from Denmark and the Baltic States participate regularly in NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and NATO Standing Mine Counter Measures Group 1. The primarily operational areas of the two maritime groups are in the Baltic Sea as well as northern and eastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The maritime groups strengthen NATO´s presence in the region and participate in training and exercises. 

NATO Multinational Division North (MND N) 
Previously, Denmark has had extensive bilateral cooperation with the Baltic States through the so-called brigade project, where the Danish Advisory and Training Staff (DATS), stationed in Riga from 2004-2010, contributed to military capacity building in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In 2010, the training staff retuned to Denmark but cooperation continued through the Danish Division. The purely national Danish Division was transformed in March 2019 to the NATO MND N in order to make it available for the NATO Force Structure and thereby plant a new important NATO flag in the region. Denmark, Estonia and Latvia are Framework Nations of MND N. The Division is supported by many other NATO nations e.g. Lithuania, who has deployed staff officers to the divisional headquarters. The Divisional Headquarters is stationed two places: One part is in Ādaži, Latvia and another part is in Karup, Denmark. 

NATO Assurance Measures
Since the Ukraine crisis; NATO has increased its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance territory. The purpose is to assure member states with borders to Russia that NATO will honour it´s Article 5 responsibility if needed. Within this framework, Denmark and the Baltic States have participated in a number of exercises in the Baltic Sea Region e.g. Baltic-led naval exercises focusing on Mine Counter Measures, Danish-led land exercises with the purpose of planning and practicing land operations in a multinational environment and finally, US-led exercises focusing on air support to naval warfare.

NATO’s Force Integration Units (NFIU)
As part of NATO’s adaptation to security challenges from the east and the south, NATO decided in 2014 to open eight NFIUs in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. These small units represent a visible and persistent NATO presence in these member countries. The primary mission of NFIUs is to foster collaboration between national forces and the NATO High Readiness Forces in times of military-political crises. Specifically, these small units provide broad planning support to facilitate the rapid deployment of Allied forces to the Eastern part of the Alliance and support collective defence planning. They also work with host nations to identify logistical networks, transportation routes and supporting infrastructure. Each NFIU is manned by approximately 40 staff members on a rotational basis. Denmark is contributing to the Latvian and Lithuanian NFIU with one officer in each country.

NATO Centres of Excellence (CoE)
CoEs are international military organisations that train and educate leaders and specialists from NATO member and partner countries. They assist in doctrine development, identify lessons learned, improve interoperability and capabilities, and test and validate concepts through experimentation. Although, the present 25 NATO CoEs are not part of the NATO command structure, they are important supporters to the NATO Command Arrangements. Denmark has been member of the Estonian-led NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence CoE in Tallinn since June 2019. Furthermore, Denmark has applied for membership of the Latvian-led NATO Strategic Communication CoE in Riga. Denmark contributes with one Senior Advisor both places.

Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF)
On 30 November 2015, the Baltic States and Denmark signed an agreement on the formation of the UK-led JEF. JEF is a multinational joint military force, which quickly can be deployed globally to the full spectrum of operations. This includes evacuation, greater humanitarian crisis, capacity building, and peacekeeping missions to regular warfare. Besides the Baltic States and Denmark, the force consists of the UK, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland. The JEF should be perceived as a supplement to NATO and the principles for cooperation and potential dispatch are based on NATO standards, which allows the JEF to be integrated into a more comprehensive NATO force. The JEF became fully operational in 2017 as part of NATO’s quick response force (VJTF). In 2019, the JEF conducted an extensive exercise in the Baltic Sea including amphibious landings at the shores of the Baltic States. In 2021, the JEF will again conduct an exercise in the Baltic Sea. This time however, the focus will be in the western part of the Baltic Sea.

Home Guard Cooperation
The Danish Home Guard has cooperated extensively with the national defence volunteer forces of the three Baltic States since the 1990s. The Policy Guidance signed between Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2015 sets the priorities for this cooperation, highlighting areas such as capacity building, organisational development, education, training and exercises in both Denmark and the Baltic States.

Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) 
In the framework of NORDEFCO, Denmark and the other Nordic countries have undertaken a close cooperation with regard to supporting the Baltic States in conducting defence reforms. In 2016, the Nordic Countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will strengthen the security in the Baltic region by making it easier to access each other’s air, sea and land territories with military capabilities. In 2020, during the Danish chairmanship of NORDEFCO, the dialogue with the Baltic States was increased on certain issues, e.g. coordination of exercises.

Book: Mikkel Kirkebaek - Danish Volunteers in Estonian War of Independence (PDF)

Danish Ministry of Defence

Estonian Ministry of Defence

NATO enhanced Forward Presence

NATO Baltic Air Policing

NATO Centres of Excellence


Defence Attaché
Niels Henrik Johansen (residing in Vilnius)
Phone: +370 69957760

Trainee (in Tallinn)
Jakob Baltzer Henriksen