Prior to the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels, Copenhagen is lobbying to establish a NATO division headquarters in Latvia with 300 soldiers, 140 of them Danish, Danish Radio reported.
"This should be able to lead soldiers in any given war situation. It must be built in peacetime, but if necessary it must become operational in the event of war and lead the soldiers," Claus Hjort Frederiksen said.
According to the defense minister, NATO is currently missing a division headquarters in Estonia and Latvia, while already running one in Poland. According to the Danish vision, the headquarters must be built within the next few years.
According to Danish defense chief General Bjørn Bisserup, while several other NATO states will support the initiative, Denmark has to bear the overall responsibility for the project.
"Denmark will be the leading nation to build a headquarters in Latvia, which will continue the training of the Baltic brigades, something we have already done so far, but also lead the Baltic brigades and even the Danish one, if it were to be added," Bjørn Bisserup said.
Bisserup went on to call the Baltic States "today's frontline" and stressed that this step is aimed at sending a "clear signal" to Russia that the Baltic States enjoy NATO's full protection.
In recent years, NATO has launched a buildup in the Baltic States and Poland on a rotational basis, using "Russia's aggression" as a pretext. So far, the UK and Germany have voiced their support for the new NATO headquarters in Latvia.
In addition to the Latvian headquarters, Denmark, which is currently providing a rotational force of 200 to defend Estonia, pledged to return their soldiers in 2020. Additionally, Copenhagen intends to contribute to NATO's fight against cybercrime, commit 15 experts to NATO's Baghdad-based training force in Iraq, contribute to NATO's North Atlantic Navy, make four F-16 fighter jets available for NATO's Baltic Air Policing in 2019, donate DKK 100 million ($16 million) to defense reforms in Ukraine and expand its support to the Afghan security forces with another DKK 100 million ($16 million).
Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen suggested that while Denmark is coming to the NATO summit with a series of proposals, they will hardly make US President Donald Trump, who recently lashed out against Copenhagen for failing to up its defense expenditure to the NATO target level of 2 percent, completely satisfied.
"I think the US military system is overall quite satisfied with what Denmark is delivering. But then there is the head of the White House, who will probably concentrate on the two percent," Claus Hjort Frederiksen said.
Denmark currently spends 1.3 percent of its GDP on its military.
The NATO Summit will take place on Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels.