American Military Putting $57 Million Towards Icelandic Base - The Reykjavik Grapevine

American Military Putting $57 Million Towards Icelandic Base

Published June 25, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Art Bicnick

According to a declassified 2020 fiscal budget report from the US Department of Defense, the US military plans to spend some $57 million USD on the Keflavík Naval Base.

This will include some $18 million USD towards upgrading the airfield’s “dangerous cargo pad”, a paved area for the loading and unloading of explosives and other hazardous cargo; $7 million USD for beddown site prep, referring to launching areas for military aircraft; and the remaining $32 million USD to expand the parking apron, the area where military aircraft are parked when not preparing for take-off.

All of this gives a fairly reasonable assumption that the US military is aiming to ramp up combat readiness at the base. This, along with Parliament’s current budget proposals, have raised criticisms from within Iceland’s legislature.

A proposal currently on the table with the Parliamentary Budget Committee suggests removing some 300 million ISK from the 600 million ISK originally allotted towards helping developing countries and put it instead towards helping to build up the base.

Logi Einarsson, the chair of the Social Democrats, told RÚV that he questions the priority of the ruling coalition, encapsulating his feelings by saying, “This perhaps shows where the government maybe believes the need is greatest: in the development of the military base, or with the poorest countries in the world.”

Iceland’s current coalition government is led by the Left-Green Party, which from their inception in 1999 included in their party platform the desire to withdraw Iceland from NATO. That particular aim is clearly no longer a part of the party platform, and two MPs for the party—Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir and Andrés Ingi Jónsson—abstained from casting a vote on the matter.

Logi told reporters he was surprised that this kind of budgeting was going on under the watch of the Left-Greens, saying, “This is incomprehensible and I have no idea what the Left-Greens are doing in this coalition if these are the priorities.”

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