The government of Iceland is planning to shut down the Icelandic Defense Agency as of January, 2011. Its projects will be relocated to other institutions to begin with and later to a new Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The government offices. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The government has submitted a bill in regard to this matter based on a report by a task force, which concluded that it is unavoidable to operate a special institution for defense purposes, Fréttabladid reports.
Therefore a Ministry for Internal Affairs will operate a new institution which will execute defense and safety projects, along with projects that are currently the responsibility of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, the Coast Guard and the Sea Traffic Guard.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson said the government is also proposing a new safety policy on the basis of civic operations. The new institution—if established—will operate with civic purposes in mind.
Árni Thór Sigurdsson, chairman of the Althingi parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said it is the government’s clear policy not to have the new institution connected with military aspects in any way.
According to the report, the Defense Agency’s projects will be relocated to the Coast Guard and the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police to begin with, before the new Internal Affairs Ministry is founded.
Relations with NATO will remain the responsibility of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, while a Chief of Defense will work on behalf of the Internal Affairs Ministry.
The employees of the Defense Agency will be offered positions at the institution which will take over the agency’s projects.
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