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The United States and the Kingdom of Denmark have long enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1801.  The two countries have long collaborated closely on European and other regional political and security matters and cooperate extensively to promote peace and stability well beyond Europe’s borders.  An active member in regional and international institutions, Denmark is a founding member of both the UN and NATO.  The United States and Denmark have a strong and enduring security partnership, centered on countering Russian aggression and peaceful cooperation in the Arctic region.

Denmark’s Security & Defense Agreements

The United States and Denmark have the following defense-related agreements [5 MB]:  a Mutual Defense Agreement (1950); a General Security of Military Information Agreement (1981); a Basic Exchange and Cooperative Agreement (2011); a Mutual Logistical Support Agreement (1982); and an Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA) (1998).  These foundational documents establish a framework for enhanced partnership and defense and security cooperation between the United States and Denmark.  In 2022, the United States and Denmark commenced negotiations on a Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to build on the provisions of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement and establish a comprehensive framework for U.S. forces operating in Denmark.  The United States and Denmark are currently negotiating a Defense Cooperation Agreement that could enable the deployment of U.S. military forces in Denmark.  A separate agreement governs the U.S. presence in Greenland.

Denmark’s Partnership with NATO

Denmark is a strong NATO Ally and a reliable contributor to multinational stability operations, as well as to international assistance initiatives.  Denmark has forces deployed worldwide to several NATO missions, UN peacekeeping operations, and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.  Denmark led NATO Mission Iraq from November 2020 until May 2022.

Denmark hosts Thule Air Base in Greenland, which provides great strategic value for U.S. and NATO military forces.  In addition, Thule supports a U.S. military presence in addition to a U.S. Space Force Command.  Thule Air Base also provides a critical early-warning radar system that improves U.S. and NATO military capabilities in the Arctic region.  Thule, which has enabled U.S. space superiority since the 1950s, will be renamed Pituffik Space Force Base in the spring of 2023.

Denmark’s Assistance to Ukraine

Denmark has been a committed and reliable partner of Ukraine since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, providing approximately €657 million ($678 million) in support, including €510 million ($526.5 million) in military assistance (including artillery, ammunition, military training, and demining support), and €147 million ($151.7 million) in humanitarian funding.  Denmark is also providing troops and military equipment to NATO Allies Latvia and Estonia to strengthen deterrence and defense.

U.S. Arms Sales and Defense Trade with Denmark

The United States and Denmark have a healthy defense trade relationship that advances U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by strengthening the military capabilities of Denmark, a NATO Ally, while supporting the U.S. defense industrial base.

The United States has approximately $2.2 billion worth of active sales cases for U.S.-origin defense articles and services to Denmark under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.  Recent and significant sales are listed here, and include MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters, AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems and Sonobuoys, Standard Missile (SM-2 Block IIIA) and AIM-120 C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM).  Denmark also joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in 2002 during the System Development and Demonstration phase and has taken delivery of six airframes as of December 2022.

FMS are financed through national funds.  Under the FMS program, the Department of State determines which countries may purchase defense articles, and the Department of Defense executes these arms transfers.  The U.S. coordinates very closely with Denmark for security sector assistance activities in Greenland, a semi-autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

From FY 2017 to FY 2021, the United States authorized the permanent export of $1,090,697 in defense articles (including agreements) to Denmark via Direct Commercial Sales (DCS).  The top USML categories were VIII: Aircraft ($205 million), XIX: Gas Turbine Engines ($110 million), and XII: Fire Control, Laser, Imaging and Guidance Equipment ($39 million).

Under DCS, PM’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (PM/DDTC) provides regulatory approvals in sales of defense equipment, services, and related manufacturing technologies controlled under the 21 categories of the U.S. Munitions List (USML).  These sales are negotiated privately between foreign end-users and U.S. companies.

The United States also provides Excess Defense Articles (EDA) to support Denmark’s defensive capabilities and that of NATO’s collective defense.  This included providing MRAP vehicles in 2017, with a total acquisition value of approximately $4.5 million.

The United States and Denmark also collaborate on international arms control.  Denmark is a Party to several export control regimes, including the Wassenaar Arrangement (which regulates transfers of conventional arms and dual-use technologies).

Denmark’s Participation in Global Peacekeeping

Since 1948, Danish peacekeepers have taken part in several international peacekeeping and crisis management operations.  Denmark deploys troops to Operation Agenor, the European Maritime Awareness in the Straits of Hormuz; to support enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battle groups in the Baltic; and previously supported Operation Barkhane in the Sahel.  In 2022, Denmark deployed a combat battalion to Latvia and committed to that level of contribution through 2023.  Denmark has also contributed to the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR).  Denmark also supports two UN-led missions. As of September 2022, Denmark contributes two staff officers to MINUSMA, as well as nine experts to UNTSO, for a total of 13.  Two of these professionals are women.

Denmark’s Contributions to Humanitarian De-mining

Denmark is an important partner in humanitarian demining, with the government and several Danish organizations providing explosive ordnance risk education and mine action programs in countries including Iraq and Ukraine.  Denmark contributed $1.6 million to UNDP to strengthen Ukraine’s coordination of demining and the removal of unexploded ordnance.  Additionally, Denmark is training Ukrainian soldiers on Danish soil on mine-counter measures and explosive ordnance clearance.

U.S. Defense Cooperation with Denmark

Denmark participates in a number of multilateral military exercises with the U.S. and other NATO Allies, including Defender Europe, BALTOPS, Nighthawk, and Arctic Light.

Denmark’s Membership in International Organizations

The United States and Denmark belong to a number of the same international organizations, including NATO, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Arctic Council, among others.

Denmark is also a member of the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe (E-PINE) forum to support cooperative engagement, strengthen healthy societies, and support vibrant economies in the region and beyond.

U.S. Department of State

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