The Swedish Defence Bill 2016-2020

Thursday, April 23, the Government proposed a Defence Bill 2016-2020 for the Parliament. The defence bill is based on a broad political agreement between five parties; the Social Democratic Party, Moderate Party, Green Party, Centre Party and Christian Democrats.

The Defence Commission reports from 2013 and 2014 have served as the political basis and the Armed Forces report has been the guiding document to the Swedish Defence Bill 2016-2020. This defence bill has been produced in the context and in light of the developments in Russia and specifically the Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

This defence bill sets a new trend in Swedish defence spending. The government has, for the first time in more than two decades, decided to successively increase the defence spending over the next five years with an 11% increase (2,2 % per year). The total defence spending over the next five years will be 224 billion SEK. (In total, this defence bill added 10,2 billion SEK.)

The key priority is to enhance the warfighting capability of the Armed Forces, as well as to develop a new Total Defence concept which includes both military and civilian defence.

Some concrete issues that this defence bill focuses on

  • A renewed regional focus, with emphasis on national defence and planning for wartime scenarios.
  • Substantial investment in the core/base of the defence force (such as personal equipment for our soldiers, communication/CIS equipment, radars systems, trucks and other material and logistics for the Armed Forces. Other priorities include increased training and exercises.)
  • An additional light mechanised battalion.
  • The reestablishment of regular army units on the island of Gotland, including a mechanized company, an armoured company and command and control components.
  • Upgraded tanks and infantry combat vehicles and new mortars for the mechanized battalions.
  • New self-propelled artillery (Archer).
  • New bridge layers.
  • New anti-tank weapons.
  • Equipping some of the home guard battalions with mortars.
  • Upgrading two corvettes.
  • Air defence capabilities, including further investments in JAS39 with Meteor, as well as new short and medium range surface to air missiles.
  • An additional reinforcement of anti-submarine warfare capability.
  • Investments in recruiting and the sustainment of soldiers.
  • A modernised civil defence (meaning a civil society that cooperates closely with the armed forces).
  • Active cyber capabilities.

Bilateral and multilateral cooperation

Sweden will also deepen the cooperation with the Nordic countries, in particular with Finland, the Baltic States, the EU, NATO and UN. The transatlantic link is of key importance, as well as a unified European response to the events challenging European and global security.

An analysis on the development Swedish defence and security policy

The government will commission an expert whom, based on an independent perspective, will prepare a report that analyses the meaning of various forms of cooperation and/or membership with countries and organizations, as well as advantages and disadvantages thereof regarding Swedish defence and security policy, both current and in the future. The analysis should not evaluate the fact that Sweden is not a member of a military alliance. It will include, for example, the relationship to the Nordic States, Nordic-Baltic and bilateral Swedish-Finnish cooperation, as well as the transatlantic link, UN, EU, OSCE and NATO.

The analysis aims to clarify the broad approach to Swedish security and to contribute to the deepening of the dialogue and understanding on these issues. The assignment extends over one year and shall be presented in the form of a written report to the government.