Island Command Greenland

Grønlands Kommando

Established 1946
Activated 1946
Island Commander Rear Admiral
Niels Erik Sørensen
Budget (2005) ? krone
Employees 100 civilian & military
Island Command Greenland (Grønlands Kommando), or simply "GLK", is a Level.II authority responsible directly to the Defence Command. It is, among other things, responsible for the military defense of Greenland, maritime and sovereignty maintenance and enforcement, as well as search and rescue. Personnel assigned to the Danish liaison office at Thule Air Base (FOTAB) as well as the Sirius Patrol (Slædepatruljen SIRIUS) are also a part of the Greenland Command.

It also functions as NATO's Island Commander Greenland, formerly part of Allied Command Atlantic. ACLANT became Allied Command Transformation in 2003, and since then it is not clear exactly how the command now fits into the NATO Military Command Structure.


The Danish military can trace its activities in Greenland back to the time of Hans Egede. From the late 18th century up to World War II, personnel from the Danish military contributed very actively to the exploration of Greenland, by land, sea and air.

After WWII fishing inspections and sea measuring began again and the first dedicated Greenland command was erected, called the "Greenland Maritime Command", located at Nuuk (Godthåb). On August 1, 1951 it changed name to the "Island Command Greenland", while simultaneously moving from Nuuk to the Naval base at Kangilinnguit (Grønnedal, at that time is was only a Marine station), where it has been ever since.

Civilian duties

Under the stipulations of several international treaties, Denmark has agreed to keep and maintain a SAR (Search And Rescue) response organization in the Greenlandic area of responsibility. This organization is administered by the Greenland Command. The organization is divided into three sections, Land, Maritime, and Air, in order to simplify the command structure, which is absolutely vital on SAR operations.

The Greenland Command is authorised to request additional support from naval vessels, police cutters, the Royal Danish Air Force, civilian ships, aircraft from Air Greenland, and US or Icelandic SAR units based in Iceland if need be.

Winter in Grønnedal

  • - official Greenland Command site (Danish)
  • - Danish Polar Centre (English)

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