You may be surprised to learn that Iceland does not have an army in the full sense of the term. Its sea borders are secured by the Icelandic Coast Guard and there are naval aircraft to secure the skies. But that does not mean the country is defenseless. Iceland is a member of NATO and this association entitles the country to be defended in the event of any threat. Iceland is a peace-loving nation and hardly has any enemies. This arrangement therefor works for the Nordic state. To handle other criminal activities within the country, the National Security and Special Forces Unit is responsible. These constitute the army services in Iceland.
What if You Want to be a Part of an Armed Service?
The average Icelander prefers to stay away from the armed services as seen from the protests on the streets of Iceland in the past to the country becoming part of the NATO. The country had permitted the US to setup a base in Iceland as part of this agreement. This was also objected to by the Iceland public or at least a part of the population. However, there may young Icelanders who would dream of joining the army services in Iceland.
They can enlist in any of these services and go through the professional training imparted. If there are vacancies you will get absorbed and be a part of the forces defending Iceland. There is a clear National Security Policy for Iceland and it has been approved by the country’s parliament. The policy commits the nation to protecting its borders through creating the necessary defense structures and having the defense equipment in place. Iceland has a huge natural wealth to protect and keeping them safe is critical to the future of the nation.
No Elaborate Defense Structures
Most countries in the world would have a separate ministry for defense and there will be the three wings, the army, the navy and the air force. Iceland does not have any of those. Army services in Iceland are limited to the forces mentioned above, the Icelandic Coast Guard and the National Security and Special Forces Unit. With a population of less than half a million, the powers that be in the country believe these are adequate to secure the country as well as to maintain peace and law and order within.
Security Policy Addresses the Current Scenario
In all this however, the National Security Policy has not overlooked some of the latest threats countries are facing. Europe has been faced with the threat of terrorism and come countries are revisiting the liberal policies they had followed so far. The threat is real and every country in the region has to safeguard its interests.
The other serious threat is cyber security. With the rapid expansion of technology and almost all critical transactions being carried out over the internet, protecting the computer systems from being exposed to cyberattacks is also important. Iceland is strengthening this area and there are special units that have been tasked with this responsibility.
It has become the norm these days that the army services in Iceland must include virtual threats of this nature as well. It cannot be separated from the larger objective of defending the country.
Where Iceland does not have adequate facilities to provide training to the defense personnel at various levels, the cooperation of the Norwegian Army is sought and batches of personnel from the Icelandic forces are deputed to Norway to give combat training.
On a broader canvas, it is interesting to know that a nation can manage without having its full-fledged army.
If you require any assistance in Iceland, contact Swapp Agency.