US authorities are planning “future US operations” at the Keflavík Air Base, as Iceland moves defence funding from the Interior Ministry over to the Foreign Ministry.
According to a press release from the US Department of Defense, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work was in Iceland last Sunday and Monday, during which time “he met with senior Icelandic officials to reaffirm the United States’ steadfast commitment to the defense of Iceland”.
“The deputy secretary visited Reykjavik and met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson and other senior Icelandic officials,” the statement continues. “Discussions focused on the U.S. defense relationship with Iceland and items of shared national security interests, to include Arctic Security. Work thanked Iceland for its contribution to the defense of NATO’s northern flank. Additionally, the deputy secretary discussed future U.S. operations at Keflavik Air Base.”
At the same time, Vísir reports that, according to the proposed budget for next year, just over 1 billion ISK has been allocated under the heading of “defence”. Although most of Iceland’s defence matters have been under the auspices of the Interior Ministry since 2011, the budget proposal calls for 793.1 million ISK of the defence allocations to move from the Interior Ministry to the Foreign Ministry.
“Emphasis has been placed on NATO member states increasing their payments to the common defence of the alliance, especially in light of security developments in Europe,” the proposal reasons, adding that Iceland will increase its payments to NATO by 213 million ISK.