The Political Role of the Military: An International Handbook

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Cynthia Watson | Go to book overview

king/military and people, fought for more than a thousand years, was stopped in 1849 with the introduction of the first Danish constitution. Since then, the armed forces have been regarded as just another interest group. The third area of democratization is the recruitment system of the defense organization, as in the "supermarket model," where conscription, militia, and enlistment are offered at the same time and where conscripts are treated very liberally. However, within most areas of the military profession such as function and career pattern, politicians do not exercise any significant influence. In short, from security policy through defense policy and military organization and to the officer corps, a declining degree of political influence is found. But, as the new selective security policy will make politicians responsible for the death of Danish soldiers in the "out-of-area" UN/NATO/CSCE missions, an increased democratic influence on the armed forces is likely. On the other hand, with more masters to serve (such as the Danish Parliament, the government, the UN, NATO, and CSCE), all military establishments will gain more room for political maneuvering by playing both ends against the middle. Actually, this has happened lately, when the Danish armed forces in UN units in the former Yugoslavia criticized the civil UN authorities for prohibiting Danish tanks there from operating and made members of the Danish Parliament question this UN policy.

The second tendency is civilization, that is, the armed forces have introduced into its organization several civil aspects from the other governmental agencies. Here, civilization is most clearly found at the lowest levels. Education, lack of esprit de corps, and increased career competition exemplify these trends. With the new policy of selective security demanding Danish armed forces for the battlefield, the civilization process is expected to stop.

The third tendency is professionalization. Evidence of this development is fewer conscripts per professional soldiers, fewer soldiers per capita, more enlisted men and officers, and more need for different types of professional practitioners due to the many new technological weapon systems implemented within the Danish armed forces. This process of professionalization with increased need for expertise will continue in the era of selective security. But at the same time, the professional influence will be challenged by the politicians. In the future, officers and politicians will meet in more open confrontations discussing the conditions, aims, and methods for Danish military contribution to UN, CSCE, and other international operations. The outcome is determined already. In a democratic society, where politization and professionalization meet, the latter is bound to lose because of the democratic legitimacy of the former.

In short, selective security will increase politization and limit civilization and professionalization.


NOTES
1.
Denmark accepts the independence declaration of Norway in 1814, of the island of Iceland in 1944, and the Home Rule of the Faroe Islands in 1946 and of Greenland

-100-

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