Canadian Arctic Security – Denmark and Greenland –
28 August 2009
The Danish Chief of Defence, Admiral Jørgensen, pays a visit to
Nunavut and Greenland to plan for
future defence of the region
Denmark's Chief of Defence, Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen, has just completed a tour of
Greenland and the Canadian Arctic (running from 23 to 28 August). In Iqaluit, Adm Jørgensen met up with
his Canadian opposite, Gen Natynczyk. At the time of writing, there's no mention
from DND's small army of Public Affairs Officers. One wonders why not. The Danish military managed to
issue a press release – available here, in Danish.
Nor has this story yet been covered in the Canadian media. This is not that surpising, Canada's newspapers also
missed the recent Challenger flights until the Danish news releases were made apparent to them. But, of
course, it is up to those DND Paffos to make the media aware of significant events –
especially when it involves their 'boss' !
So, breaking news: Canadian Paffos aren't very good at their jobs. Well, anyone who has tried to
follow the Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan could have told you not to rely on that paranoid crowd. The
take-home message? If you want to track defence-related developments in the Arctic, we'd suggest that you
lær at læse dansk.
Forsvarschefen besøger Canada og Grønland
23-28 August 2009: Danish Defence Chief Tim Sloth Jørgensen visits Canada and Greenland to
exchange Arctic experience with the Canadian Chief of Defence Staff
Defence Chief [Forsvarschefen, Admiral] Tim Sloth Jørgensen is presently visiting the arctic regions
of Canada and Greenland. Global heating is having a profound effect on arctic regions. As the ice melts, it opens the
possibilities of both new shipping routes becoming navigable and increased ship traffic on existing routes.
Climate change also has an effect on arctic defence problems as the recent defence agreements point out.
In Canada, Defence Chief Jørgensen visits the town of Iqaluit – the administrative capital of
Nunavut, the eastern portion of the Canadian arctic regions. Here Tim Sloth Jørgensen met with his Canadian
counterpart, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Walter Natynczyk [ in Iqaluit for Nanook 2009
]. Higher activity levels in the arctic are not least among the subjects for discussion:
As the ice melts, it will change shipping routes – probably resulting in a rise in ship traffic.
This had led arctic nations to examine the potential for closer cooperation in the region. Both Denmark and Canada
have made moves in that direction. One object of Adm Jørgensen's visit is to discuss greater cooperation
with his Canadian colleague.
The Danish and Canadian Defence Chiefs will then travel
together to Greenland where,
among other things, they will
meet with Kuupik Kleist, the chair of Landsstyret, in
[ Grønlands Landsstyre is the new Home Rule government.
JE Kuupik Kleist became
Greenland's Prime Minister in June
2009. Under Self-Rule, local defence and foreign policy
will still be determined by Denmark. Kuupik Kleist also leads Inuit Ataqatigiit, a political party
dedicated to the full independence of Greenland.] The Defence Chiefs will then continue on to visit
Thule Air Base [ Gen Natynczyk and Adm Jørgensen flew to this US military airfield in northwestern
Greenland aboard an RDAF Canadair Challenger].
Defence Chief Jørgensen notes that Greenland is a large area to cover in comparison with
Denmark, especially in coastal surveillance, air-sea rescue, and monitoring ocean traffic. Climate change and the
prospect of increased ship traffic dictate that the time is now to effectively balance the exploitation of existing
Arctic resources with new plans for the future defence of Greenland and Canada's Arctic.