Government’s measures during the electoral period in the area of defence

During this electoral period, the Government has worked on implementing the Defence Resolution adopted by the Riksdag. During the 2016–2020 defence period, the operational capabilities of military units will increase and the overall operational capability of the total defence will be ensured. A great deal has already been achieved and we can see that the Resolution has already had an impact in a number of areas.

Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist with soldiers on the island of Gotland.
The most significant objective in the coming defence period up to 2020 is to enhance the operational capabilities of military units. Photo: Victor Svedberg/Government Offices

The single most important measure of the 2016–2020 defence period is to strengthen the operational capabilities of military units and ensure the overall operational capability of total defence. The Government is working on implementing the Defence Resolution adopted by the Riksdag. The additional funding to the defence budget and the investments included in the Defence Resolution of 2015 are in the process of being implemented.

Enhanced operational capabilities of military units

The most significant objective in the coming defence period up to 2020 is to enhance the operational capabilities of military units. It must be possible to use defence in times of peace, crisis and war. The military units are primarily designed to be able to counter an armed attack.

  • The three inquiries appointed by the Government concerning personnel supply for the military sector, logistics for increased defence preparedness, and research and development in the area of defence have presented their reports and are now being processed.
  • In autumn 2016, the Government decided to allocate an additional 12 Archer systems for the artillery to the Swedish Armed Forces.
  • Contingency adaptations have been carried out in response to the global situation and the high level of military activity in our surrounding, e.g. enhancing and bringing forward the presence on the island of Gotland. The Swedish Armed Forces have reactivated land-based coastal missiles.

Reactivation of national military service

In December 2014, the Government decided to once again start calling in personnel in wartime postings for refresher training as part of the process to secure personnel supply. The Government also appointed an inquiry on personnel supply for the military sector (SOU 2016:63).
In spring 2017, the Government decided that the Swedish Armed Forces would start planning for the implementation of basic national military service training for a minimum of 4,000 individuals per year in 2018 and 2019. This decision means that the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency was tasked with calling total defence conscripts for enrolment as of autumn 2017.

  • On 11 December 2014, the Government decided to give the Swedish Armed Forces the option of calling in personnel in wartime postings for refresher training.
  • On 2 March 2017, the Government decided that total defence conscripts would be obligated to enrol and complete basic national military service training.
  • On 17 August 2017, the Government decided to double compensation to total defence conscripts.

Overall operational capability of total defence

Sweden needs to re-establish a modern total defence to be able to address the challenges and threats resulting from the changing security situation in the surrounding. This means a new planning concept for the entire total defence, i.e. both military and civil defence.

Total defence includes recreating psychological defence with the aim of safeguarding an open and democratic society with freedom of opinion and free media. The new security situation will also place great demands on Swedish foreign intelligence and cyber defence capabilities.

The Government is monitoring developments in total defence very carefully and will take the measures that are necessary and possible under existing legislation. The Government has made a number of decisions on coherent total defence planning.

  • On 10 December 2015, the Government decided to task the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency with presenting proposals for a joint basic outlook for cohesive total defence planning.
  • On 11 May 2017, the Government decided to instruct the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency to continue promoting and developing coherent total defence planning during the period up to and including 2020. The area of total defence also received an additional SEK 500 million in the 2017 Spring Budget.

Moreover, the Government has tasked the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency with helping to increase people's knowledge of how to prepare for crises and state of emergencies, and ultimately war. The remit includes producing and disseminating national information material.

  • Work has been done to implement the Government's decision on all personnel within the Swedish Armed Forces needed in the event of a state of emergency being assigned a wartime posting.
  • Measures have been taken to achieve modern and coherent planning for total defence. In December 2015, the Government decided on a number of remits and instructions for various authorities.
  • On 23 March 2017, the Government adopted the committee's terms of reference entitled 'Improved protection for total defence activities'.

Deepening international cooperation

Threats to peace and to Swedish security are best averted collectively and in cooperation with other countries. Sweden must be able to work with others and provide and receive support, which can also be of a military nature.

Cooperation with others is essential for long-term stability and peace in our part of Europe. The Government is working to ensure deeper cooperation with other democratic states and organisations. In addition to the cooperation entered into with Finland and the United States, the strong community with the Nordic and Baltic countries, and cooperation with Poland and the United Kingdom, the relationship with Germany will be strengthened during 2017.

In 2016, the Government adopted the 'Memorandum of understanding on host nation support' bill. The aim of the memorandum of understanding is to ensure that Sweden, as a host nation, can provide effective support for military activities on Swedish territory in connection with exercises, crises or military operations in Sweden and in our surrounding.

Cooperation with Finland is particularly important. By further strengthening defence cooperation with Finland, we will enhance each nation's capability and generate better security in our surrounding. Sweden's objective for defence cooperation between Sweden and Finland is to improve the Swedish Armed Forces' operational capabilities and enable joint operational action with Finland.

  • Defence policy cooperation with the US, Germany, the UK and others has been enhanced through agreements and declarations of intent.
  • Defence cooperation with Finland has deepened.
  • On 17 March 2016, the Government adopted the 'Memorandum of understanding on host nation support' bill.

On 9 January 2017, the Government decided that the Defence Commission should begin work to produce material for the Government for future Defence Resolutions. The Defence Commission comprises members of the eight parties represented in the Riksdag, advisers and experts, and a secretariat. By 14 May 2019, the Commission must present a defence and security policy report to the Government. On the basis of the Defence Commission's reports, and other material, the Government will draft a new defence policy for the period 2021–2025, which the Riksdag will then decide whether or not to adopt.