As a founding member of NATO, Denmark has retained its membership since 1949.
Of the five million Danes, roughly 80 percent of the population supports the Danish Armed Forces and its relationship with NATO. Recruiting for their traditional defense structure has not been a challenge for Denmark and its retention of troops has provided forces for numerous world-wide operations including KFOR (Kosovo Force), NTMI (NATO Training Mission), Operation Active Endeavor, Counter-piracy support in the Horn of Africa, AMIS (African Union Mission in Sudan), and ISAF (International Security Assistance Forces). Seven hundred Danish Soldiers contributed to NATO efforts in Afghanistan as the objective of the Danish involvement is to support the building up of an Afghan society that is democratic and stable. In 2008, Denmark decided to increase its military efforts, bringing the total to 750 Soldiers, making it the largest troop-contributing nation to ISAF as measured per capita.
Denmark's defence forces include The Army Operational Command Denmark (Army), Admiral Danish Fleet (Navy), Tactical Air Command (Air Force), Joint Services, and the Home Guard. Since Greenland is part of the Danish Kingdom, Danish forces execute military tasks for two-year rotations in and around the country and have established a permanent patrol in the northeast. The Navy primarily receives the Greenland missions and conducts search and rescue operations, surveillance and the protection of the Marine environment, surveillance of vessel traffic and special assistance to customs authorities. The tasks carried out by the Danish forces in the Faroe Islands are similar to those in Greenland and require one ocean patrol ship with an embarked LYNX helicopter and, if required, a Challenger CL-604 patrol aircraft.
An important factor in working towards the Danish foreign and security policies is the Danish Defence Agreement. Drafted in 2004 by several Danish political parties, the agreement maintains one of its goals is to "work towards international peace and security in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter, specifically through conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacemaking, and humanitarian operations.”
Asked about Denmark's increased support for ISAF troops in Afghanistan, the Denmark National Military Representative at SHAPE, Brigadier General Jens Praestegaard says, "…we made a rather untraditional staffing up to that political defence agreement. Instead of looking at all our forces and capacities, we simply started from scratch by drawing a new structure asking ourselves what do we need to meet the political tasks. We transformed into a rather new system simply because we realized that from 2004 when this political agreement started our main effort would be on the international scene.”