The Danish Parliament. Photo: Christoffer Regild.

International operations and Danish participation

Military contributions are an essential part of an active Danish foreign and security policy. Military contributions can be deployed to contribute to the prevention of conflicts, war and the fight against terrorist organisations, thereby helping to contribute to Denmark’s security.


Denmark's current international engagement mainly consists of troop contributions to the Baltic States and Iraq.


Denmark also contributes with staff officers and military observers within the framework of the UN. In addition, there are also several smaller contributions to NATO and other coalitions.

The decision making process for military engagement

Over the past decades, Denmark has continuously deployed military forces to various operations worldwide.


The Danish Government, with the involvement of the Danish Parliament, decides whether to deploy Danish forces to international operations.


Article 19 of the Danish Constitutional Act, Grundloven, sets the framework for the decision to deploy military forces. It is stated in Article 19 that the Government cannot deploy Danish forces to an operation where they possibly must use force against foreign states without the consent of the Parliament. In practice, the consent of the Parliament is usually obtained where Danish forces are to use force to carry out their tasks.


The consent of the Parliament is obtained by a parliamentary bill. For other deployments of Danish troops, the Government may involve the Foreign Affairs Committee.


Background to the decision

The decision to deploy military forces is typically based on a military recommendation from the Danish Defence and a threat assessment of the area of deployment composed by the Danish Defence Intelligence Service.


For instance, the Danish Defence assesses whether the necessary resources, including personnel and equipment, are available to carry out the specific task. Furthermore, the Danish Defence also makes a recommendation on the composition of a possible force contribution.


International humanitarian operations

The Danish Emergency Management Agency can be deployed to provide humanitarian aid abroad at the request of another state or an international organisation. The Danish Ministry of Defence takes the decision to provide aid in consultation with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinates and finances a deployment of Danish state disaster aid to ODA countries. With the Danish Defence Agreement (2018-2023) it was decided that the Danish Emergency Management Agency’s international commitment to non-ODA countries can be financed from the Ministry of Defence's reserve for international operations.


The Danish Emergency Management Agency is an authority under the Danish Ministry of Defence. The Ministry of Defence approves the deployment of the Danish Emergency Management Agency's personnel.


The Danish Emergency Agency can provide aid to:


  • Natural disastersand pandemics
  • Technological incidents
  • Crisis and civil war

The most urgent tasks can include search and rescue efforts as part of earthquakes, but it can also include having the primary responsibility of coordinating concerning longer-term humanitarian operations. Furthermore, the Danish Emergency Management Agency can also contribute to setting up and running tent-based field headquarters for relief workers. This was, for example, the case during the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.


International cooperation

In relation to disasters, aid is provided by the Danish Emergency Management Agency alone or in cooperation with other organisations in the fields of logistics, transport, management and expertise. Close structured cooperation exists with the EU, UN, and NATO as well as with regional partnerships such as the Nordic International Humanitarian Partnership (IHP).

Last updated November 25, 2022 - 10:54