The US Department of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have signed an agreement regarding the continued American military presence in Iceland.
The agreement, posted on the official site of Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reaffirms a number of existing points regarding joint efforts between the US and Iceland to defend the island nation that were established in the 1951 Defence Agreement and the 2006 Joint Understanding. The latter agreement was ratified in the wake of the NATO base in Keflavík drastically scaling down operations.
“As a contribution to the common defense of NATO, the [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] reaffirms its commitment to the operation of defense facilities and equipment, including the Iceland Air Defense System (IADS), providing host nation support for other operation requirements such as NATO’s Air Policing missions from Keflavík Air Base, increased rotational deployments as necessary, including but not limited to Anti-Submarine Warfare, and the associated joint planning and executed of defence exercises for the Alliance,” the preface reads in part.
Apart from the re-affirmation of existing agreements, the new agreement also allows for “the [Department of Defense’s] plans for the defense of Iceland by military means”, further cooperation between US military and Icelandic civil authorities, as well as addressing “issues of mutual interest such as cyber and maritime security, exchange of classified information, and others issues as mutually determined.”
While Iceland is a NATO country, it has no standing military, and so regularly allows other NATO countries to conduct military exercises and air patrols.