Defence and Security Studies no. 1/2010
Title: Norwegian and Danish defence policy. A comparative study of the post-Cold War era
Author: Håkon Lunde Saxi
Denmark and Norway were founding members of NATO, and shared throughout the Cold War defence policies aimed at defending their respective territories against a possible Warsaw pact invasion. However, with the end of the Cold War Norway and Denmark chose different paths: Denmark to professionalise, downsize and enable its Armed Forces to take part in expeditionary operations far from Danish shores, including warfighting operations alongside American or British Allies. Norway retained a territorial defence philosophy, preferred not to deploy combat forces to peacemaking operations abroad, and maintained a larger, conscriptionbased military establishment.
Why did Denmark and Norway choose such different paths after the Cold War? Were decisions dictated by their respective geopolitical situation, or merely the product of the whims and preferences of political and military leaders? Or did they result rather from deep-seated differences in strategic and military cultures?
In this study the author shows that one-dimensional explanations of these policy decisions fall short, and that geopolitcs, leadership and culture each played a vital part in shaping post-Cold War defence policies.
Håkon Lunde Saxi holds a Master of Philosophy in History from the University of Oslo (2009) and a Master of Science in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008). Saxi has previously interned with the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies.