16 June 2008
Ministry of Defence
Minister for Defence Sten Tolgfors comments on Defence Commission report
"The Defence Commission confirms every single part of the defence policy line pursued by the Government as expressed in speeches and articles from the Sälen meeting onwards, a line that focuses on renewal. It also confirms that 2008 may be the year in which the greatest renewal of defence policy in a decade takes place.
"A flexible operational defence, suitable for use at home and abroad.The key is availability. Recruitment on a voluntary basis, with an element of professional full time soldiers. Broad and deepened Nordic cooperation, joint Baltic surveillance, participation in NATO's air situation picture and collaboration with NATO in international operations. Choice of which capabilities to maintain and which to do without, a structure and organisation that is more effective and efficient. Civil-military collaboration, a long-term and sustainable approach and a focus on international operations. A doubling of the level of ambition for international operations. Emphasis on better financial management and respect for civilian expertise in the Swedish Armed Forces. A new, more effective and efficient equipment supply process, with purchase of off-the-shelf equipment as the main option, support for the European Defence Agency (EDA), pooling of equipment with other countries and support for the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC). All this combined with a reformed agency structure and transfer of resources from peripheral activities to operational advantage.
"For the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the agreement in practice represents an increasedcost of SEK 8 billion in relation to their budget proposal 2007. They will also have to reconsider their view of SAC, which they recently said no to in the Parliament. But it's good that the Social Democrats are now showing that they want to be part of a forward-looking defence policy.
"It is a great success for the Defence Commission as an organisational form that it has been possible to reach a broad agreement on a good report for renewal of the armed forces. When I gave the Commission its mandate I underlined that I want to test the possibility of a broad agreement across the Parliament's parties - failing that, the Alliance has a majority anyway. The report will provide a good basis for the government bill on the orientation and dimensions of the armed forces that will be presented in the autumn.
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