The world’s northernmost military base, the Thule Air Base located on the edge of Greenland will see billions in investments in line with the new maintenance contract to improve facilities and maintain operations the Department of Defense (DoD) signed on December 16.
Commissioned during the Cold War in the early Fifties shortly after Denmark entered NATO in 1949, the base – located about 1,200km north of the Arctic Circle and some 1,500km from the North Pole – plays a key role in the ability of the US military to detect and provide early warnings for potential ballistic missile attacks.
Indicating the US’ newfound strategic commitment to the Arctic, the US Air Force (USAF) will spend nearly $4 billion over the next 12 years at Thule Air Base in Greenland, which will be operated and maintained by the Greenlandic firm Inuksuk A/S that was awarded the contract.
The maintenance of the world’s northernmost air base is now put in the hands of a newly established, majority Greenlandic/Danish-owned company, a move which is expected to bring Greenland a steady stream of tax receipts and create jobs for the local workforce, hence boosting the economy of the semi-autonomous island.
In a departure from the long-term agreement between Denmark and the US, the contract had been held by a US company since 2014, which has resulted in grave economic repercussions to Greenland’s national economy since it is heavily dependent on annual subsidies from Denmark that were locked ever since.
The new massive 12-year contract announced by the DoD was praised by Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen as being of maximum benefit from US military presence.
In a keen desire to secure access to the rare minerals to be found in the Greenlandic depths, the US opened a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk whereas former US President Donald Trump offered Denmark to buy Greenland in 2019, a bid the shocked Copenhagen refused flatly.