Practice-oriented Articles

Back to the Future: Nordefco’s First Decade and Prospects for the Next



This article discusses the evolution of the Nordic defense cooperation, NORDEFCO, during its first decade, i.e. since 2009, and its prospects for the next. A special focus is on the 2019 (Sweden) and 2020 (Denmark) chairs, who in many ways represent two opposite approaches to defense cooperation in the Nordic region. While NORDEFCO’s first period was devoted to various types of smart defense, the Russian aggression in Ukraine in early 2014 represents a real game changer with a new and upgraded operational role for the Nordic cooperation. The nonalignment of two of the Nordic countries, however, puts a severe limit to how far defense integration and cooperation can go in the Nordic-Baltic region. Nevertheless, NORDEFCO is still of considerable value in terms of regional security as a tool for circumventing the restrictions posed by the differing security doctrines and, thus, for integrating all the Nordic countries in the defense cooperation in the Baltic Sea region.


NORDEFCOBaltic Sea regionsmart defensenonalignmentRussian aggression
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 172–182
  • DOI: 10.31374/sjms.85
  • Submitted on 17 Jun 2020
  • Accepted on 21 May 2021
  • Published on 15 Jul 2021
  • Peer Reviewed