Denmark revamps military; prepares to appoint new army chief

Denmark prepares to appoint a new army chief amidst military restructuring prompted by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Denmark’s military landscape is undergoing significant changes as Major General Gunner Arpe Nielsen steps down from his role as the chief of the army. Nielsen’s resignation comes at a critical juncture for the NATO-member nation, as it grapples with the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reassesses its defence priorities in light of evolving geopolitical challenges.

Having served as the head of Denmark’s army for three years, Nielsen’s decision to resign underscores the pressing need for a revamped military strategy that can effectively address emerging threats and safeguard national security interests. In recent times, Nielsen openly acknowledged the vulnerabilities exposed by the conflict in Ukraine and the escalating tensions with Russia, highlighting the imperative for Denmark to enhance its defensive capabilities and fulfil its commitments to NATO.


Independent military analyst Hans Peter Michaelsen weighed in on the resignation, expressing frustration over the perceived lack of political will to allocate adequate resources towards bolstering the country’s armed forces. Despite rhetoric from policymakers about the necessity of strengthening Denmark’s military readiness, Michaelsen lamented the apparent inertia in translating these words into tangible investments that could fortify the nation’s defence infrastructure.

Denmark’s military expenditure has been a subject of scrutiny, with calls for the country to meet NATO’s target of allocating 2% of its GDP to defence spending. While Denmark has contributed military aid to Ukraine, including the provision of F-16 fighter jets, internal investments aimed at enhancing the country’s own military capabilities have been relatively modest. A recent commitment to inject 143 billion Danish crowns ($21 billion) into defence over the next decade signals a step towards rectifying this shortfall and reinforcing Denmark’s position within the NATO alliance.

In light of Nielsen’s resignation, attention now turns to the appointment of his successor, scheduled to take place by April. The incoming army chief will inherit the responsibility of navigating Denmark’s military strategy through a period of geopolitical uncertainty and escalating tensions in Europe. With the new leadership set to assume office imminently, Denmark remains focused on fortifying its defences and upholding its commitments to collective security within the NATO framework.