Government newsletter: Sweden strengthens its defence capability
14 January 2014

Sweden strengthens its defence capability

A Swedish soldier shaking hands with children. Photo: Tobias Larsson/Försvarsmakten

Sweden's defence system has a different look now than during the Cold War. The defence is in a process of transition. Rather than a system of defence against invasion, it is now becoming a practical and accessible defence designed to respond to modern-day challenges. In the coming four years, the Government is increasing the appropriations to military units by SEK 1.4 billion. The defence reform and the Government's commitments will strengthen Sweden's defence capability.

At the Folk och Försvar (Society and Defence) Annual National Conference in Sälen on 12-14 January, politicians, experts and many other actors are meeting to discuss defence and security issues. The Government is represented by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence and the Minister for International Development Cooperation.

More complex security challenges

When the international environment changes, so do the security challenges. In a globalised world, the challenges and threats to security become more complex and less bound by borders. Examples include international crime, terror threats, cyber attacks and threats to transport and energy flows.

It is impossible to imagine military conflicts in our region that would affect a single country. This is why we have said that we build security together with other countries. Our line is that Sweden will not remain passive if another Nordic or EU country is struck by disaster or comes under attack. We expect these countries similarly to act if we are the target.

All the parties in the Riksdag are represented in a forum called the Defence Commission. In May last year, the Defence Commission presented its analysis of the international situation in a report entitled Vägval i en globaliserad värld (Choices in a globalised world). The Commission found, in broad consensus, that a separate military attack directly targeting Sweden remains unlikely in the foreseeable future.

In March this year, the Defence Commission will present its defence policy report. Based on its security policy analysis, the Defence Commission will analyse Sweden's defence and present proposals for the period after 2015. The proposals are to follow the direction for the Swedish defence system established by the Riksdag in 2009.

Cooperation with other countries

Sweden builds security together with other countries. Our partnerships are important to our ability to pursue an active foreign and security policy, and a condition for contributing to international peace and security.

Sweden's membership of the EU involves defence and foreign policy cooperation with the other Member States. The EU now contributes internationally across a broad spectrum, from crisis management and conflict prevention to military and civilian operations. In the Nordic region too, we cooperate on both defence policy and crisis preparedness for dealing with natural disasters, cyber attacks or terror attacks. Nordic defence policy cooperation has deepened in recent years. In addition, Sweden, as a NATO partner country, has participated in NATO-led crisis management operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya. Sweden and Finland have well-functioning defence cooperation and we will now deepen our cooperation to increase our countries' military capabilities.

Higher government appropriations to defence

The appropriation to military units will increase by SEK 200 million in 2014, SEK 300 million in 2015 , SEK 400 million in 2016 and SEK 500 million in 2017.

These commitments are being made to strengthen the ability of the Swedish Armed Forces to recruit, train and keep soldiers and officers serving intermittently and to increase exercise activities.

The Swedish Armed Forces must be designed and resourced to be able to defend Sweden and promote Swedish interests, but also to be able to meet new threats in the event of changes in the international situation. The most important task for the Swedish Armed Forces in 2014 is to complete the reorganisation into an operational defence with units that are available for rapid deployment.