Today, Denmark's defense expenditure amounts to 22 billion DKK ($3.3bln) annually. An expenditure of at least 2 percent would therefore cost Danish taxpayers 17 DKK ($2.5bln) each year.
According to Red-Green Alliance foreign spokesman Nikolaj Villumsen, this would dramatically undermine the Danish welfare state.
"In round numbers, this corresponds to 32,000 social workers' salaries. It would simply not be possible to remove so much money," Nikolaj Villumsen told the Danish daily Berlingske.
"It is best for us to decide. We should not only obey orders from the US," Kristian Hegaard said, as quoted by the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.
For the Danish Armed Forces, however, the perspective of almost doubling its budget is not unrealistic, however unproblematic. According to Jens Ringsmose, the head of the Danish Defense Academy's Institute for Military Operations, a "bag of money this size" would inevitably put the Danish defense under pressure. However, he argued, with creative thinking, the Danish Armed Forces would easily find ways of spending 2 percent of the GDP.
According to Ringsmose, the future defense investments should be governed by two guidelines: putting more emphasis on flexible units that are capable of multitasking and units that not particularly resource-intensive in terms of crew, since recruitment remains one of the major challenges facing Danish defense. Therefore, the extra money should be spent on new combat aircraft, an upgrade of frigates and more flexible combat units.
"In the first place, the military is in need of more robustness and weight, and that implies personnel. And with more personnel, you also need more materiel: more guns, more uniforms, more vehicles," Peter Ernstved Rasmussen told Danish Radio.
However, Ernstved Rasmussen also recalled former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's 2014 pledge to acquire a radar array capable of locating enemy missiles heading towards NATO member states. So far, it remains high on the Danish government's shopping list alongside an air defense system capable of shooting down those missiles.
From a slightly longer perspective, Ernstved Rasmussen recommended buying more combat aircraft, as the 27 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters that Denmark decided to buy to replace its aging stock of F-16s are not enough, especially if the Danish government wants to continue its international missions.
In recent years, Denmark has contributed proportionally to NATO's international missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
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