Denmark’s Arctic, North Atlantic focus: Canada among new defence attaché posts

“The security and defense policy situation has changed significantly over recent years,” said Denmark’s Minister of Defense Troels Lund Poulsen, pictured here in a file photo, when announcing the new defence attaché and defence adviser positions. (Liselotte Sabroe /Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Denmark continued to strengthen its Arctic and North Atlantic security focus this month with the announcement of five new defence attaché positions, including one in Canada.

Denmark’s Ministry of Defence said Ottawa and Copenhagen’s shared interests in places like the Arctic made Canada a natural choice to be among first five new positions announced.

“The Arctic and North Atlantic is a vast region and the responsibility cannot be covered by one nation alone,” Denmark’s Ministry of Defence told Eye on the Arctic in emailed comment.

“The Kingdom of Denmark will prioritize engagements with partners who share the aim of maintaining the Arctic as a safe and low tension region.”

In addition to shared northern interests, Canada’s leadership of the NATO battle group in Latvia, where Denmark has previously contributed battalions and will be doing so again this year, underscores the importance of placing one of the new positions in Ottawa, the Ministry of Defence said. 

“As close Allies in NATO, Denmark and Canada share mutual security interests, not only in the Arctic and North Atlantic, but also on deterrence and defence of the Baltic states, where we are cooperating closely in Latvia,” the ministry said.

A file photo of a Canadian soldier in Latvia wearing the NATO Battle Group patch. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Denmark initially revealed plans for five new defence attaché positions as part of their first partial defence agreement under the Danish Defence Agreement 2024-2033, saying there was a need to bolster Danish presence in critical geographic regions amidst changing global security dynamics.

Defence attachés are direct representatives of Denmark’s Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces and are stationed at Danish embassies around the world where deemed necessary.

They also act as liaisons between Denmark and defence sector and report to Danish authorities about military and defence policy developments in the country of their posting.

Importance of Euro-Atlantic security

In addition to Ottawa, the other newly created positions will be in Oslo; a new assistant defence attaché at Denmark’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York; and two extra assistant defence advisers at Denmark’s Permanent Representation at NATO.

“The main tasks for the Danish Defence in the Arctic is to enforce the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, to defend the Kingdom’s interests and to contribute to the deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area,” the ministry said.

“We do this in close cooperation with the Faroe Islands and Greenland, and as ever within the framework of NATO.”

All five new defence positions are expected to be filled before the end of the year.

The ministry said it’s currently finalizing details of the new defence attaché role in Ottawa, including Canada-specific responsibilities.

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Finland: Military exercise apparently disrupts weather images from Lapland, Yle News

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arctic 

Norway: Against Russian aggression: Norway signs security agreement with Ukraine, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia signs MoU with Chinese navy, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesU.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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