U.S. policy aims to maintain close, cooperative relations with Iceland, both as a NATO ally and as a friend interested in the shared objectives of enhancing world peace; respect for human rights; economic development; arms control; and law enforcement cooperation, including the fight against terrorism, narcotics, and human trafficking. Moreover, the United States endeavors to strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations.
Joint activities with the U.S. have included joint search and rescue, disaster surveillance, and maritime interdiction training with U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard units, a port call by the U.S.-led NATO Standing Maritime Group 1, and U.S. deployments to support the NATO air surveillance mission in Iceland. The U.S. and Iceland jointly led planning and execution of Northern Viking air defense exercises over several years, and planning for subsequent joint endeavors is underway. The Government of Iceland contributes financially to NATO's international overhead costs and provides support to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan.
Notwithstanding its status as an unarmed nation, Iceland has been eager to do its part to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. One of the niches it is helping to fill is in civilian peacekeeping and crisis management including roster of over 100 experts in various occupations (police officers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, journalists, etc.) who are specially trained and prepared to deploy to trouble spots abroad on short notice.