Danish Defense Minister Shares Vision For Future
(from left:) Radisson Blu Royal Hotel CEO Roy Kappenberger; U.S. Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton; Danish Defense Minister Nick Hækkerup; AmCham Chairman Kim Østrup (IBM)
Mark Clark of Raytheon asks the Minister a question.
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On March 5, Danish Minister of Defense Nick Hækkerup met with more than 75 AmCham Denmark members and defense industry representatives to share his views on today's security challenges and his priorities for the Danish military. The meeting was hosted by the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel and featured the hotel’s new food concept “Brain Food,” designed to help people stay focused during meetings.
In brief opening remarks, U.S. Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton welcomed the Minister and underscored the strong U.S. commitment to Denmark - reminding the audience of the recent meeting between Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and President Obama (where the Ambassador was also present), as well as recent and upcoming meetings with the Danish Defense Minister and the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The Ambassador also praised the Danish military in its stellar role in Operation United Protector in Libya, as well as their assistance in the transition strategy in Afghanistan and not the least, Denmark’s solid work against piracy off of the horn of Africa. “We face global challenges together,” the Ambassador continued, and “be assured in these times of demanding fiscal restraint, we count on Denmark to continue to be there as a valuable ally and partner.”
Minister Hækkerup then took the podium. The focus of his speech was the important role of NATO and global cooperation on defense. In a world where change is the only constant, the Minister discussed the importance of strong partnerships and strong alliances, saying that NATO is just that. “NATO remains the cornerstone of Danish security and defense policy…and continues to play an important role as a regional organization with global responsibilities.
The Minister also highlighted his family’s historic engagement in public service (his grandfather as foreign minister and his uncle as defense minister) and close cooperation with the U.S. Having seen brutal regimes operate, both were committed to the fundamental ideals of freedom, democracy and equality.
In terms of the future of Danish military, the world is in constant development and facing large defense budgets reductions. “We don’t have to do everything on our own, but must secure ourselves through allies, agreements and cooperation.” The Minister discussed the importance of NATO’s new “smart defense” initiative and the need to develop this concept further.
The Minister wrapped up by saying, ‘I have come today to reaffirm the close ties between the U.S. and Denmark. A bond not just about business, but the ideals that we share, and have shared for generations, which will make us stronger in the future.”
Following the Minister’s keynote, AmCham Executive Director moderated an interactive discussion / Q&A session, which touched on a with a wide range of issues including the timing for procurement of new military equipment (helicopters, combat aircraft, etc.) and an new EU directive to eliminate military offsets.