Denmark criticizes NATO’s Libya operation

A Danish F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter flies over the Sigonella NATO Airbase in Sicily, March 19, 2011.

From Politiken:  A Danish Air Force Tactical Command (FTK) report criticises NATO for its inability to direct bombing raids in Libya last year.

According to the confidential report, which Politiken has obtained as part of the Freedom of Information Act, the Air Force operated without trustworthy intelligence on where and how bombing raids should be carried out.

As a result, Denmark and other allies in Operation Unified Protector were forced to limit operations against Col. Gaddafi’s forces, a central NATO source has confirmed.

“NATO’s command structure was not ready to lead an operation such as Operation Unified Protector when the Libyan operation started,” the FTK document says.

Denmark operated under U.S. command in the initial phase of the Libyan campaign, but as of March 31, 2011 the campaign came under NATO command. The report says that the command change had a negative effect on the campaign. Unlike the United States, NATO did not have intelligence gathering facilities able to keep pilots informed of the situation on the ground.

“NATO did not have sufficient access to tactical intelligence to support the operation,” the report says.

From Peter Stanners, Copenhagen Post:  Denmark contributed six F-16 fighter jets and about 110 staff to the mission against Libya from the Italian air base on the island of Sigonella. Over the nest seven months, the Danish jets flew 600 missions and dropped 923 precision bombs.

NATO’s problems with intelligence gathering are no secret and NATO’s secretary general, and Denmark’s former PM, Anders Fogh Rasmussen has publicly acknowledged the problem.

“We recognised that we need more of that capacity,” Rasmussen said in May when signing new contracts for drones. “We are now closing that hole.”

All 28 NATO countries have helped finance the five new drones that will cost over ten billion kroner, including needed support ground staff.  (photo: Reuters)

Image: reuters%203%2019%2011%20Danish%20F16%20Sigonella.jpg