Office of Defense Gets Budget Axe - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Office of Defense Gets Budget Axe

Published June 23, 2009

Among the many cuts the Icelandic government is making in an effort to
save money, the Office of Defense will cease to exist in its current form.
The project was the dream of the previous government, who saw the
closing of the Keflavík NATO base as an opportunity to create a
military-ish base of its own. While serving as more or less a glorified
radar station, it was nonetheless going to operate at a considerable
cost – about 190 million ISK per year.
However, last Sunday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that due
to budget constraints, the Office of Defense would have to be
decommissioned “in its current form”. Also, any quasi-military
peacekeeper projects – such as the team of Icelanders who went to
Afghanistan to help defend the Kabul airport – would be suspended.
Among the first to celebrate the news was the Young Leftist-Greens. The
Leftist-Green Party has opposed the creation of the Office of Defense
since its inception, believing it a waste of money and an unnecessary
project. A statement from the Young Leftist-Greens reads in part, “The
Young Leftist-Greens welcome the news that the Office of Defense will
be decommissioned into a new form. The movement regrets, however, that
pointless and costly military exercises haven’t been discontinued as
well.”
As a NATO country, Iceland allows other NATO countries such as Denmark
and France to conduct military exercises over its air space and in its
waters. Iceland pays these countries to conduct these operations.

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