Permanent Military Presence in Iceland Not on Government’s Agenda Skip to content

Permanent Military Presence in Iceland Not on Government’s Agenda

By Yelena

Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir NATO summit madrid
Photo: Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir arriving at the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid.

Iceland’s National Security Council has no plans to request permanent military presence in Iceland, according to the country’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Katrín told RÚV that Iceland is, however, reviewing its national security policy and working on an updated risk assessment in light of the war in Ukraine.

The security environment in Europe is in a period of change following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The invasion has led to Finland and Sweden applying for NATO membership, a move Iceland’s government has supported.

NATO member countries regularly monitor the airspace over Iceland, and increasing that monitoring is a consideration. The Prime Minister says, however, there are no plans to reinstate permanent military presence in Iceland.

Both Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir are currently attending a NATO summit in Madrid. “We have not been discussing a permanent military presence in Iceland, that we have not been discussing,” Katrín told RÚV reporters, adding that the current priorities of Iceland’s security policy were twofold: reviewing security policy and updating the risk assessment for Iceland.

The current security policy was implmented in 2016, and although the Prime Minister believes it has served well, there are “certain points that need to be fine-tuned.” The risk assessment focuses mostly on how Iceland can increase its preparedness, and Katrín emphasised that this does not involve any sort of permanent military presence.

Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir stated the government intends to increase investment at Keflavík Airport, taking into account NATO’s security priorities. Those priorities, however, are mainly focused on the east and south of NATO’s area of influence, Þórdís stated.

As for a permanent military presence in Iceland, Þórdís stated: “It’s not on the agenda.”

Iceland is a founding member of NATO but does not have its own military. US forces maintained a permanent presence in the country from World War II until 2006.

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