Major cutbacks underway for Denmark’s military prior to increased spending

A somewhat confusing debate has broken out in Denmark where the government has announced substantial increases in defense spending but also insists that the military meets new budget cuts before it can receive more money. Independent defense website Olfi.dk has released the catalogue of proposed savings produced by consulting agencies BCG and Struensee & Co.

Skeptics fear that the suggested savings will cause irreparable harm to the military’s ability to function, while others point out that every government agency needs to aspire for efficiency and responsible use of taxpayer money. Regardless of attitude towards the budget analyses it is undeniable that some of the suggestions will have profound consequences for the way the military works.

The overall 45 suggested possibilities for “increased efficiency” include fundamental changes of operational, managerial, and educational structures as well as reduced material redundancy. An element of the budget analyses is the reduction of formal education of military personnel and an increased reliance on on-the-job-training, leaving critics worried about the quality of military education. A de facto abandonment of a regimental structure of the Army is also on the table.

The budget cuts are a result of last year’s decision to buy F-35 fighter jets where the politicians agreed to finance the 27 new aircraft through cutting other defense spending by 1 billion DKK (160 million USD). This reduction comes on top of the 15% decrease (2.7 billion DKK) that was decided in the 2013-2017 defense agreement.

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