Danish Officer Career Management System (2001)

The Danish military officer system is in a state of transition. In both old and new systems, officers are required to serve until mandatory retirement points. The old system’s retirement points were:

  • Generals at age 65;
  • Colonels and lieutenant colonels at age 62; and
  • Majors at age 52.

Under the new system, all officers, regardless of rank, will serve until mandatory retirement at age 60.

Promotion to captain is expected for all officers automatically. Officers may not receive further promotion after age 55. At age 60 officers receive a 75% pension. Under some early retirement provisions, officers can retire before age 60 but receive no pension until age 67.

Officers desiring to obtain promotion beyond captain must complete staff college and receive assignment to an authorised position. Officers without the equivalent of a college education will generally be limited to the rank of captain, although some of these officers are promoted to major in order to fill some less desirable positions and encourage officer movement to other assignments.

Through the rank of major, officers are promoted within their specialties (skills). After major, all officers compete for promotion across specialties. Selection of battalion commanders is within specialties.

Officers seeking promotion to lieutenant colonel and higher grades and brigade command must complete general staff training. General staff college attendance requires officer application and military department selection. Selection is very competitive. Once selected for promotion, officers are promoted based upon age.

Promotion to lieutenant colonel and above depends upon an authorised billet being approved in the financial legislation. Temporary ranks are used to fill required higher-graded positions not supported by financial legislation, but the higher pay is not allowed. Temporary ranks are often used for positions in NATO of UN force positions that are outside of financial legislation.

Lateral entry is very exceptional or non-existent. Reserve officers brought on active service are integrated at their current rank based upon experience comparability with active contemporaries. Experience is the key credential to the officer military profession in Denmark.


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