New and independent military analysis institute to strengthen the Nordic defense debate


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New and independent military analysis institute to strengthen the Nordic defense debate​

Peter Ernstved Rasmussen
8 February 2023

Henrik Danielsen is the man behind the Institute for Military Analysis (IMA), which today arises with the aim of creating a more open and scientifically based debate on Nordic defense and security policy - initially with a starting point in Denmark. The institute has been several years in the making and has great ambitions.​

Danmark and the Nordic countries lack independent and qualified input in the debate on both national and international defense and security policy. This is the opinion of self-employed businessman Henrik Danielsen, who today can finally tick off a socially important project that he has spent several years putting together. This is happening with the launch of the independent Institute for Military Analysis, which aims to qualify the public debate and political decisions about the military organization, doctrine and equipment of northern European countries.

"There are many of us who have missed more independent contributions in the public defense debate rooted in military professionalism, which can challenge and inspire the decision-makers to make the best decisions for the defense both in Denmark and in the rest of the Nordic region," says Henrik Danielsen, who is also chairman of the board of IMA.

Henrik Danielsen got the idea for the Institute for Military Analysis several years ago, and since then he has spent a lot of resources on developing ideas and gathering support for his project. In the founding circle you will find, among other things, the now-deceased editor-in-chief of Weekendavisen, Anne Knudsen, who was an active participant right up until her death in April 2022. On the institute's website, you can even find a quote from the late editor-in-chief, who, with the support of the family, is happy to give the project its tribute from the beyond.

"The Danish defense is popular among the Danish population, and confidence in NATO's strength is overwhelmingly high. But the assessment of the actual military capacity is not based on any real knowledge of the military forces, let alone of the threat picture that Denmark and its neighboring countries face. The proposed institute will make independent, expert descriptions and assessments of the real conditions available to both the public and the politicians. This will be of inestimable importance for both the debate and the political decision-making process. I therefore support it without reservation,' says Anne Knudsen on the website of the Institute for Military Analysis.

Former defense chief Knud Bartels also supports the IMA project:

"Northern Europe's security and defense policy challenges create a need for a sober, impartial and constructive institute. The Baltics as well as the North Atlantic, the High North and Central Europe must be considered, so that solutions are proposed which can also counter full spectrum threats . Such an institute must be independently financed and contribute with politically and militarily feasible proposals. I therefore support the Institute for Military Analysis, which can contribute to achieving these goals,' he says.

Builds on donations from private foundations​

According to Henrik Danielsen, the Institute for Military Analysis' finances are based on grants from private foundations. Donations are not published, but according to the chairman of the board, the institute receives neither money from the arms and defense industry nor political organisations, just as IMA does not receive grants and donations from countries outside NATO or the EEA.

"I have been contacted by several companies within the Danish and international defense industry who would like to help finance the institute. We are of course honored by that. But it doesn't work if we want to be independent. That is why we reject contributions from the defense industry and countries outside Nato, because we do not want to be dependent on anyone with interests in defense and security policy,' says Henrik Danielsen.

IMA is initially conceived as a three-year project established as an independent institute working with a clear military professional field, including the civil preparedness area, which is not currently covered by universities or think tanks.

Henrik Danielsen explains that the Institute is a civilian and independent version of the classic military "study and development company", which according to him should be a cornerstone of any military defence. To Henrik Danielsen's chagrin, this company has been de-prioritized in recent years in the defense of a number of northern European countries, which entails a risk of a lack of foresight, cooperation and efficiency. The same has happened in the field of civil defence, he believes.

"This makes it difficult to face new challenges and increases the risk of armed conflict in Northern Europe, and that Nato will not act unitedly and resolutely in a crisis," he says.

The institute is inspired by the American RAND​

The institute is inspired by the American research and development think tank RAND, whose name stands for Research and Development . RAND was established privately in 1948 to support the US defense when it was in a critical period characterized by threats and uncertainty – much as we see it in Northern Europe these years. According to Henrik Danielsen, IMA addresses both the political level and non-experts in civil society.

"We generally provide military-technical and non-political advice on the defense of the Baltic Sea countries, Northern Europe, the North Atlantic and the Arctic. Our background is an actual military professional insight that also includes the area of civil defence, and one of our goals is that we encourage wider understanding, debate and actual development and building of the respective countries' defense and a joint Nordic defence,' he says.

Henrik Danielsen himself has a background as a commander through 13 years in the Armed Forces. Since then, he has been involved in a number of companies and has himself been director of Dansk Erhvervsgartneri (today Dansk Gartneri, ed.) and director of the agricultural economic advisory company Patriotisk Selskab. He does not want to prepare analyzes himself, but leaves this to the professional military experts in the IMA.

"As we see it, there has been a tendency in Denmark and a number of neighboring countries over several years for the military advice and debate to be shaped to a large extent according to civilian models, ways of thinking and needs. With the current level of threat, there is a much greater need for unfiltered military expertise in the debate, which is based on deep professional knowledge and at the same time is not subject to political control and pressure,' says Henrik Danielsen.

Members are all former or retired​

The members of the institute are all former or retired military personnel who, with their professional background, can speak freely without compromising their loyalty or integrity to their employer.

Among the members is the retired Major General Agner Rokos, who, among other things, has been head of the now defunct Army Operational Command. The retired colonel Eigil Schjønning has a background in the Army, i.a. as head of both the Army's Officer School and the Army's Combat School, and the recently retired Brigadier General Carsten Rasmussen ended his career as a defense attaché in Beijing and Moscow after, among other things, to have been commander of the tank squadron deployed in Operation Bøllebank in Bosnia in 1994.

Retired Brigadier General Steen Ulrich began his career in the Armed Forces as a fighter soldier and ended it in the Air Force. Among the Nordic members are the retired colonel Kjell Törner from Finland and the retired rear admiral Jørgen Berggrav from Norway.

"The security situation in Northern Europe has become significantly more challenging. This places new demands on the defence. Without access to relevant and independent military assessments, it is difficult as a politician to decide which defense provides the best effect and the most value for money. A politically independent institute can help remedy this. I pay tribute to the efforts and my full support for the further work,' says Jørgen Berggrav.

You can read more about the Institute for Military Analysis at


About bloody time an NGO was formed. Too many politicians and career lice have a tendency to suck the blood out of an National Security issues.
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