Iceland Military

Iceland is a country located in Northern Europe. With a population of around 364,000 people, it is the least populous country in the region. Iceland is a parliamentary republic and its military consists of three branches: the Coast Guard, National Security and Defense Forces, and National Guard. The Armed Forces are responsible for defending the country’s borders and sovereignty, as well as providing security to its citizens. In terms of defense spending, Iceland spends approximately $400 million annually on its military, making it one of the highest defense spending nations in Northern Europe. The country also participates in several NATO operations such as those in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions such as those in Lebanon and Syria. Iceland is also a member of both the European Union (EU) and NATO, and has close ties with other EU members such as Sweden and Norway. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Iceland.


Iceland has no defense of its own. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that ISL stands for Iceland. However, for coastal and air surveillance there is a domestic surveillance force. The country’s defense is based on NATO membership since 1949. In 1951, Iceland signed a bilateral agreement with the United States. The agreement with the United States meant that the United States pledged to defend Iceland in the event of war and Iceland left ground for an American air base, the Keflavik base.

Iceland Army

Until 2006, there were US military forces at the Keflavik base. Formally, the agreement with the United States still applies (2019). In 2007, Iceland signed a new military agreement, this time with Norway which, in cooperation with NATO, promised to protect Iceland. In 2016, Iceland and the US entered into an agreement that US forces could be re-located in Iceland.

Iceland has no military forces. The semi-military coastguard, under the Ministry of Justice, has a staff of 250, three armed patrol ships, one aid vessel, one aircraft and two helicopters (IISS, 2018)

The country is one of the original members of NATO, and following a US-Icelandic defense pact from 1951, the United States had military forces at the Keflavík base until 2006. In 2007, Norway and Iceland signed an agreement on security, defense, emergency and rescue cooperation. Iceland also has a crisis force of 100 men, taken from the police and coastguard, which can be deployed in international peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the UN or NATO.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Do you know where is Iceland on the world map? Come to see the location and all bordering countries of Iceland.

Cold War

For fear of overfishing and because of the importance of this industry to the Icelandic economy, in 1964 Reykjavik expanded its fishing limit to 12 nautical miles and in 1972 to 50 nautical miles. This triggered the so-called cod war with Britain sending warships to protect its fishing fleet. The dispute was annexed in 1973 with a fishing agreement. In October 75, Iceland declared that the limit would be extended to 200 nautical miles, referring to environmental protection and the protection of its own economic interests. When the 1973 agreement expired at the same time and when it was not possible to enter into a new agreement, the Icelandic move triggered the third and fiercest cod war.In February 76, Iceland temporarily cut off diplomatic relations with Britain. It was the first time that diplomatic relations between two NATO members had been severed. Only in June could an agreement be made, and in December the English fishing trawlers withdrew from Icelandic waters. In 79, Iceland reaffirmed its territorial right over the 200 nautical mile fishing limit.

Economic crisis

In 1983, the government adopted a harsh economic crisis package aimed primarily at reducing inflation. The trade union movement had agreed to accept the social costs associated with the intervention, and inflation fell from 130% at the beginning of the year to 27%.

In May 85, Parliament passed an opinion declaring Iceland a nuclear weapons free zone. Thus, the introduction of nuclear weapons into the country was prohibited. The country was later selected to host the October 86 summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Gov. Mihail Gorbachov.

In June 1988, the female president of Iceland, Vigdis Finnbogadóttir, won the election for the third time and began a new four-year term. She was supported by the main parties and gained over 90% of the vote, despite the fact that she had a female counterpart this time. In September, Steingrímur Hermannsson assumed the post of prime minister at the head of a center-left government consisting of the Social Democracy and the People’s Alliance. The new government pledged to implement an economic crisis package to address the towering inflation and recession of devaluations of the Icelandic krone.

As a result of increasing international pressure, with the Greenpeace environmental organization demanding international boycott of Icelandic products, in August 89 the Reykjavik government decided to suspend the capture of whales for scientific purposes for a two-year period. 1989 was generally financially difficult for Iceland in the same way as its neighbors in the North Atlantic – the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Northern Norway. This was mainly due to an unforeseen fall in fish prices, which was apparently due to overproduction.

As a consequence of the crisis, the trade union movement in the 1990 collective bargaining agreement saw a decline in real wages of 8%. The consequence was that the number of cars in Iceland for the first time ever fell. Otherwise, the country has the largest number of cars per year. residents of the world. The same year, the government set up an environment ministry and Julius Solnés was appointed minister of environment. In the April 91 election, the center-left government retained its absolute majority in the Alting, with 32 out of 63 seats.

Fishing was in crisis at the beginning of the 1990’s, which was due to a reduction in the stock of a number of species – especially the cod. This caused Iceland to impose strict rules on foreign fishing trawlers’ access to Icelandic waters. This created problems in trade relations with the outside world. Finally, the catch of whales whose meat was predominantly exported to Japan was completely banned.

Iceland was admitted into the European Economic Zone on 1 January 1993 and, together with Norway and Liechtenstein, are the only old EFTA countries that remain outside the EU. There is no desire in Iceland for EU membership.